Walker County man called 'hero' for saving family

Walker County man called 'hero' for saving family

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Demetrius Hagler talks Friday about his experience rescuing a family from their wrecked car. (WBRC photo) Demetrius Hagler talks Friday about his experience rescuing a family from their wrecked car. (WBRC photo)
A picture of the crashed car from Thursday morning. (WBRC photo) A picture of the crashed car from Thursday morning. (WBRC photo)
JASPER, AL (WBRC) -

A Carbon Hill man was celebrated Friday for rescuing a family from their crashed car.

Demetrius Hagler, 40, and his wife were traveling Highway 5 just north of Jasper Thursday morning when they witnessed a small SUV plunge into a swamp near a bridge.  Inside the car was Etta McNatt of Haleyville, her daughter, Connie, and her grand-daughter.

Hagler said he moved into action without thinking.

"The little girl was screaming," Hagler said. "I couldn't see nothing but one one person. I could hear the girl and I could see the driver. That's all I could see before I could even get started."

Hagler said he had to remove a tree limb to get the hatch of the vehicle open to get inside. Once inside he rescued all three of them.

"The officer and paramedics told me if we didn't see that happen nobody would have seen it," Hagler said. "I pass it every morning and you can not see down there."

The family was taken to the Walker County Regional Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Authorities said they were fortunate.

"It got airborne before it hit the water and flipped around," Lt. Mark Hendley with the Saragossa Fire Dept. said.

Friday, Hagler was back at work at Beachside Detail in Jasper, where Hagler said he was getting ribbing and praise from co-workers.

"All the guys, cutting up, they were calling me here and all of that," Hagler said.

Hagler said, though, he wouldn't call himself a hero.

"I wouldn't call myself a hero. I just thank God I was able to help.  I thank God I was there. That's just me. I respond like that. I'd do it for anybody."

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