Citizens help rescue driver involved in vehicle accident

Published 10:49 am Wednesday, February 1, 2017

On Sunday at approximately 4:42 p.m., deputies with the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call for a vehicle accident with injuries on Route 189, South Quay Road, near Pretlow Road, according to Maj. Gene Drewery, spokesman for the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office. Once on scene, deputies saw a 1989 Toyota pickup truck that had extensive damage and was partially submerged in a swampy area off of the road.

The driver, later identified as George Baker, 51, of Gates, North Carolina, was the only occupant. He was transported by EMS to Southampton Memorial Hospital and was airlifted to Norfolk with what appeared to be serious injuries. Based on the investigation, Baker has been charged with driving under the influence, reckless driving and failure to wear a seat belt.

“The Sheriff’s Office would like to publicly recognize two individuals that placed themselves in danger with no regard for their own safety while trying to rescue Baker from his vehicle,” said Drewery. Michael Doering and Curtis Hamlin Jr. witnessed the accident and were the first two people on scene after they called 911. When deputies arrived, Doering and Hamlin were still on top of the vehicle assisting fire and rescue personnel with safely removing Baker from the truck.

The vehicle, at that time, had not been stabilized and was still partially sitting in a swampy area. Without knowing how deep the water was, how stable the vehicle was or recognizing any other potentially dangerous situations, Hamlin and Doering entered the cold water and positioned themselves on top of the vehicle to render whatever aid they could to Baker and they continued to assist rescue personnel once they arrived on scene.

“Hamlin and Doering should be applauded for their efforts to help a complete stranger in their time of need while never stopping to consider the danger that the situation presented,” said Drewery. “Thank you for being exemplary citizens and role models to your community.”