A New Jersey man is being called a hero today for pulling three teens from the Delaware River after their mother allegedly tried to kill them.
Darnell Taylor was heading to dinner with his wife when he noticed a van sticking out of the river and people trapped inside. Taylor is grieving the loss of his father who succumbed to cancer on Wednesday morning, but still sprang into action to rescue the family without any regard for his own safety.
“I got out of the car and heard people screaming,” Taylor told a local news affiliate. “I took off my jacket, jumped in and swam out there.”
“I couldn’t get the window open because the window in the van was not a pop out window,” Taylor explained. “So I kept telling the young lady to kick the window out and she kicked it out.”
While his wife called 911 Taylor was able to pull 49-year-old Joann Smith and her three teenaged children from the van, saving their lives.
Police claim Smith, who has a history of mental illness, intentionally drove the van into the river, attempting to kill her 13, 14, and 15-year-old children. Smith has been arrested and charged with three counts of attempted murder, three counts of child endangerment, and is being held on $600,000 bail.
Although traumatized, Smith’s children were physically unharmed in the incident, thanks to Taylor.
“He was a godsend,” Bob Lane, a local resident, told NBC Philadelphia. “He saved them. That water is not warm and he jumped in.”
Many have called Taylor a hero, but the husband and father disagrees.
“I’m not a hero,” he said humbly. “I’m just a member of this community and anyone else would have done the same thing.”