Teen Honored for Saving 3 Victims and a Police Officer After Car Plunges Into River: 'So Thankful'

Corion Evans, 16, sprang into action early Sunday morning after seeing a car plunge into the Pascagoula River, according to the Moss Point Police Department

Corion Evans, Mississippi Teenager Honored For Saving 3 Girls, Police Officer After Car Plunges Into River
Photo: The City of Moss Point/Facebook

A Mississippi teenager is being praised for saving four people from a river over the Fourth of July weekend.

According to a Moss Point Police Department news release obtained by PEOPLE, 16-year-old Corion Evans helped save three female victims after he saw their car plunge into the Pascagoula River around 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

The teen also helped save Officer Garry Mercer, who had difficulty swimming after swallowing water during the rescue.

In the news release, Moss Point Police Chief Brandon Ashley commended Evans for the "bravery and selflessness he displayed by risking his own safety to help people in danger."

"If Mr. Evans had not assisted," he said on Wednesday, "the situation could have turned out differently, instead of all occupants being rescued safely."

The department said the driver claimed she was following GPS directions before the incident occurred.

Evans told WLOX that the vehicle "drove straight under the water" and "only a little bit of the car was still above the water" when he began the rescue.

"I was just like, 'I can't let none of these folks die. They need to get out the water,'" the Pascagoula High School student explained. "So, I just started getting them. I wasn't even thinking about nothing else."

Evans said his friend, Karon "KJ" Bradley, helped put the victims on top of the vehicle while he attempted to "keep the victims above water and swim with them at the same time."

A short time later, Evans also saw Mercer struggling in the water.

"I turned around. I see the police officer. He's drowning," he recalled to WLOX. "He's going underwater, drowning, saying, 'Help!'"

"So, I went over there," Evans continued. "I went and I grabbed the police officer and I'm like swimming him back until I feel myself I can walk."

Mercer said he swallowed water while trying to bring one of the victims, who was panicking, to shore, according to the MPPD. Luckily, Evans was eventually able to help both individuals out of the river.

Getting the victims back to shore was no simple task, however. Evans told WLOX the vehicle was 25 yards away from shore and that some victims were vomiting water.

"My legs were so tired after," he said. "Anything could've been in that water, though. But I wasn't thinking about it."

Mercer and the three victims were transported to a local hospital for treatment following the incident, per WLOX. All parties are currently "doing well," Ashley said in Wednesday's news release.

On Tuesday, Evans and Mercer were awarded Certificates of Commendation from Mayor Billy Knight and the Board of Alderman at the city's scheduled board meeting.

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Evans was also lauded for his actions on social media, including in a post from one of the victims he saved, Cora Watson.

"This man right here saved my life right before my last breath," Watson wrote in a July 4 Facebook post. "I'm so thankful for him."

Evans' mother, Marquita Evans, lauded her son's efforts as well.

"My hero," she wrote Sunday on Facebook alongside a photo of her child. "My son saved 4 lives last night while risking his own life … so proud of you son for not giving up and saving lives!"

Speaking with WLOX, Evans' mother said she is "really proud" her son "wasn't just thinking about himself" early Sunday morning.

"He was trying to really get all those people out the water," she said. "I'm glad nothing happened to him while he was trying to save other people's lives."

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