The man Kelly Carter hugged Friday at Middlesex Town Hall is more than her hero.
“Definitely my guardian angel,” Carter said. “The Lord definitely put him in a place where he needed to be, and I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful for another day.”
Police officer Roger Shearin dove into a pond and pulled Carter to safety after she lost control of her car on NC Highway 231 and crashed into the water Monday afternoon. Shearin happened to see the vehicle as he drove past around 3:45 p.m.
Middlesex Police Chief Mike Collins said Shearin would not have been there on any other day.
“Detective Shearin’s hours are earlier in the day, and on Monday only, the only day that I’ve ever told Detective Shearin not to come in at his normal time, I asked him to come in at 4 o’clock, and work from 4 to 8, because we had a board meeting,” Collins said.
Carter said learning that information gave her chill bumps, as she assumed the officer was on his way home.
She was on her way from a job interview Monday when her car hydroplaned due to heavy rain. Carter said everything happened quickly. Her phone became waterlogged before she was able to locate it to call for help.
“The 911 operator thought I was a child, and I realized I wasn’t getting through, and I wasn’t going to get any help, so I really started to panic,” she said.
“Then Officer Shearin appeared over top of the edge of the creek, and all I can tell you is I was really happy to see him.”
Carter said the driver’s side of the car filled quickly with water. It was not an escape option. The officer had no footing to stand next to the opposite side, so he climbed on the roof and pried the passenger door open. Shearin pulled Carter on top of the car and got her to shore.
“What I did was just a human gesture,” the officer said. “With my background, as far as the Lord Jesus Christ as my savior, that’s what helped me help her, and that’s what got us both through what we went through.”
Carter agreed with Shearin giving credit to faith in a higher power.
“He said that he works for the Lord. The Lord definitely put him in the place where he needed to be,” she said.
“Just reiterates the fact that he was definitely my angel that day. Very fortunate that he was there. Not everybody would have stopped. A lot of people would have assumed that it’d already been taken care of, because you really couldn’t see me in the vehicle unless you walked to the edge of the embankment.”
Chief Collins and the Middlesex Board of Commissioners presented Shearin with an Award of Valor at a ceremony Friday afternoon, “in recognition of his courage and diligent performance as a police officer for his role in saving the life of a woman trapped in a sinking vehicle. The members of this distinguished body offer their sincere gratitude and commendation for his selfless service that occurred on the 12th day of November, 2018.”
Shearin became a full time officer with the Middlesex Police Department in January 2018.