Navy Reserve officer saves woman from sinking car in St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — A local Navy Reserve officer, Ryan Sidlovsky, is being called a hero after he jumped into the water to save a woman trapped in her submerged car.

Sidlovsky and his wife, Francee, said it happened Friday morning off of Mizell Road. They said they were on their way home from their daughter’s school, when they saw a red car dart out of a gas station parking lot. The couple saw the driver barely passed by two other vehicles while quickly crossing Mizell Road.

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“I saw the car go very quickly, much too fast,” Francee said. “It was amazing that she even made it across the traffic.”

The couple said they witnessed the car dodge two trees and then crash into a retention pond at a nearby complex. Francee said she called 911 while Ryan reached for a tool in their car.

“Initially I would say it was about waist deep to where I was,” Ryan said. “Then I remembered I had a window breaker tool in my car. I ran to get that and ran back out. By that time, the car was getting deeper. So I was kind of treading water and smashed the window in with the window breaker.”

As soon as Ryan broke through the window, he said water quickly filled the vehicle and it started to sink faster. Within a few minutes, it was submerged underwater.

“We went down and down and I was trying to get her out of the car but couldn’t,” he said. “I think she was having a hard time swimming against the current of the water rushing into the car.”

After getting a second breathe of air, Ryan said he got her out safely. Francee called it a miracle.

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“Ryan, having served in the Marine Corps for many years and now Navy Reserves and his training as a Delta pilot, he was the one for the job,” Francee said. “Just felt like this is where we needed to be in that moment.”

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office told Action News Jax the driver, Nina King, is older.

They said because of Ryan she did not suffer any major injuries.

Action News Jax went to a listed address for King, but did not get a response.

The Sidlovsky’s said she is always welcome in their home.

“If she’ll have us, we’ll take her as part of our family now because she was meant to be here and we were meant to be here,” Francee said.