When Steve Montelongo saw a car sinking in a canal, he jumped into action to save the driver’s life — just like he did nearly 20 years ago, when he rescued two elderly people from their burning home.
On Thursday, the 80-year-old was driving his granddaughter home from a dentist appointment in Modesto, California, when they spotted a car down in a canal. He pulled over, and while there were other people looking down into the water, they weren’t doing anything. Montelongo jumped into the canal, and yanked open the driver’s door, which was unlocked. With water now rushing into the car, he pulled the driver out to safety. The man, who appeared to have a medical episode before the crash, was not injured.
“I don’t consider myself a hero,” Montelongo told KOVR. “I was just a fella that got put in the right place at the right time.” In 2003, he was also in a position to save lives — while at a church meeting, there was a natural gas leak in a nearby home, which caused an explosion and fire. He raced to the house, and was able to help out an 80-year-old woman before going back in and rescuing a 79-year-old man.
Tom Olsen of the California Highway Patrol told KOVR he is impressed by all that Montelongo has done. “First responder, he can probably add to his resume,” he said. “A lot of people are in the right place at the right time, but very few actually did what Mr. Montelongo did.” Catherine Garcia