Michael Kinler knew time was against him – and far more importantly, against a mother and her child.
The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Deputy was off duty and driving through Destrehan when he saw a vehicle matching the description of a report of a woman in crisis. Near the Spillway Bridge on Airline Hwy., that vehicle made a U-turn and then crashed into the nearby water – and Kinler knew he had to act, and fast.
“My immediate thought was there are people in that vehicle that may need assistance exiting, and I understood they only had so much time to do so,” said Kinley.
He raced into the water. Once he recognized the vehicle was taking on water rapidly, he looked to see where each passenger was located and determined the best way to get each out of there. The child was a 1-year-old in an infant car seat – Kinler opened the rear passenger door and rescued the child.
Three Good Samaritans rushed in with Kinler and rescued the woman, and both she and her child were tended to by incoming officers once safe.
“I’m grateful for the outcome we had,” said Kinler. “I’m also thankful for the training and guidance I’ve had and experienced prior to this incident that assisted in the outcome.”
That training Kinler refers to is vital. A mantra by many officers has been “revert to your training” in pressure situations – that preparation is done in hopes of making reactions second nature in the heat of the moment.
Kinler said in law enforcement, you never quite know when you’ll be thrust into action.
“Situations like this are things we have to prepare to encounter at any moment,” Kinler said. “Luckily, the men and women I work with on a daily basis make it a point to have conversations about what may happen in these situations.
“We provide each other life experiences and knowledge points from specialized training that relate. That makes sure we are all as knowledgeable as we can be in case we are found in a situation like this.”
Both the woman and the child were taken to the hospital for treatment.
Kinler is relatively new on patrol – he has been at it for about six months – but proved to be a quick study, and a hero at that.
“I am proud of the quick thinking of Deputy Kinler and the Good Samaritans who assisted,” said St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne. “Two lives were saved because of their heroic actions.”