Fullerton College Professor Saves Woman From Drowning - NBC Southern California
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Fullerton College Professor Saves Woman From Drowning

"I told myself, 'I'm not going out like this, I'm not going to drown in my car.'"

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Fullerton College professor was in the right place at the right time to save a stranger in need. Kathy Vara reports for the NBC4 News at 4 p.m. on Friday, June 9, 2017. (Published Friday, June 9, 2017)

    Two strangers who happened to be driving near the same intersection will now forever share a connection. One of them, a young woman who was driving to work when things took a bad turn. The other, the man who saved her life.

    The pair recently revisited the site of the crash for the first time.

    "I saw the water shooting up in the air and I looked and I saw your tires still spinning," Phil Dimitriadis said.

    Christine was on her way to work when all of a sudden, a silver Toyota Prius darted out in front of her.

    "I closed my eyes and just held on," Christine Acero said.

    At the same time, Dimitriadis, a professor at Fullerton College, was driving in the opposite direction.

    "I saw a vehicle just sort of flip over and hit a fire hydrant," Dimitriadis said.

    "All of a sudden I just see this water rush into my car and that's when panic kind of set in," Acero said.

    Dimitriadis jumped out of his truck to help.

    "There was a substantial amount of water that was up all around the vehicle," he said.

    Acero's doors were locked but someone had a hammer.

    "I grabbed the hammer and I came back up and hit the window and broke the window," he said. "Luckily, I had my pocket knife on me and I was able to cut the seat belt and pull it out and then I was able to pull her through the small part of the window."

    "I told myself, 'I'm not going out like this, I'm not going to drown in my car.'"

    Except for a few scratches and a gash in her knee needing a few stitches, she was OK.

    "I was so thankful that nothing was wrong," she said.

    While she was trapped in the car, she had been able to talk to her mother on her cellphone.

    "She may not be here right now it if wasn't for him and he's our hero," her mother, Cathy Acero, said.

    "I just did what anybody else would do," Dimitriadis said.

    But what he did has changed this family forever.

    "Everyday I wake up looking at things a little bit different," Acero said.

    Dimitriadis also saved someone who was in an accident when her was a teenager.

    The Orange County Fire Authority is recommending he be honored for his bravery.

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