Teen saves toddler from sinking car

Posted at 6:59 PM, Jan 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-25 18:59:49-05

Sheree Montanaro was out walking her dog Saturday night in the Grace Grove neighborhood of Gifford when she saw a vehicle slide into the water.

“They were in the middle of the retention pond within seconds and it was floating like a boat," said Montanaro.

She got her grandson, Jacob Ursin, who heard the pleas for help from those inside the car, saying they couldn't swim.

“Took off my boots, took off my sweatshirt, and jumped right in," said Ursin.

Jacob was handed a 2 year-old girl.
The mercury was in the 40’s, and the 57-degree pond was more than 20-feet deep, so Jacob swam like he had never done before.

“I was on my back, with the baby on my chest and I was backstroking to shore," said Ursin.           

As he got to shore, Jacob turned to see Sheriff’s deputies working on the two adults in the car.

Jacob was recognized for his bravery Monday along with Deputies Michael Dilks, Jacob Curby, Roger Jones and Richard Henson.

“When the car went under I had not prepared my mind for the swim back that’s going to happen and I did think it was bad, it was really bad at that point," said Deputy Dilks.

The driver, 23 year-old Davonte Paschal of Fort Pierce, did not survive.
His daughter, 2 year-old Alaysia Paschal made it, as did the other passenger, 32 year-old Vashon Ferguson.  Jacob Ursin had to be treated for hypothermia, but has no regrets.

“I didn’t know when the deputies were going to be there.  I didn’t know how much time before the car started sinking.  I didn’t know any of that," said Ursin.

This current Sheriff’s Explorer, and son of a deputy, says he might want to join the sheriff’s office in the future.