Rushing culvert waters swept a mom and her eight-year-old son through pipes before a homeless man and a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer plucked the two from danger.
Abby Valladarez’s family tracked down Rick Biddle on Wednesday at the homeless camp near the site where she and her son Mikey were rescued late Tuesday. KSBW local news reported that the family brought two new sleeping bags, a heavy jacket, and a propane stove, among other items, for the man now nicknamed the “homeless hero.”
Valladarez had been driving along with her son when she was forced off highway 101 and down an embankment. The vehicle came to rest in rapidly moving waters. Although mom and son escaped the car, the waters then swept the two through large pipes under the freeway. Investigators cited in the report said waters rushed the two almost five football fields away before their rescue.
“I thought that I was going to die, like drown, because I didn’t know how to swim, I was yelling for help hoping someone would find me,” little Mikey Azevedo recalled, according to the report.
While Azevedo escaped with minor injuries–scratches and a sore wrist–Ms. Valladarez was hospitalized as a result of excessive water intake.
“I can’t imagine a person going through that and living to talk about it you just can’t understand it how anybody could go through that and live, I’m serious, she’s lucky and so is he to be here,” Biddle was quoted as saying.
Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana