Iowa State football players save woman from sinking car during spring break

A group of Iowa State football players while on a spring break trip saved a woman from drowning after she drove her car into a canal in South Padre Island, Texas.

A police report was released Thursday, detailing 22-year-old Luisa Maria Castro was inside a car that was partially submerged into the Laguna Madre Bay on March 16.

“They really are heroes, and I am forever grateful for what they did,” Castro said in a telephone interview with the Des Moines Register. “I have no words to express how appreciative I am of them. Even when I messaged them, I still felt that the words or what I was saying to them to thank them and how grateful I was — it just felt like that wasn’t enough.”

One of the Iowa State players, senior linebacker Anthony Lazard, recounted the moments in an article published by the Register.

Lazard told the newspaper that Josh Jahlas, a senior linebacker, was standing on the balcony of his hotel room when he saw a car go into the water around 8 p.m. Jahlas, thinking someone was inside, yelled to his friends.

According to the police report, Jack Spreen (a senior linebacker), Joe Doran (freshman linebacker in 2015-16) and Lazard ran out of the hotel and toward the water. They jumped in and swam to the car but were unsuccessful attempting to break the windshield glass as the water rose inside.

“She was like, ‘Get me out! Get me out! Get me out!’” Lazard told the Register. “I was getting worried that we were going to watch this girl drown to death, because no matter how hard we were hitting it, it (the glass) wasn’t cracking or spidering for a while.”

Spreen told police that they created a large enough hole in the damaged windshield to pull Castro out and safely to shore.

“That car completely sank in less than a minute, and if not for them jumping into the water and pulling the driver out, she would most certainly have drowned,” witnessing officer Michael Schiltz said in a statement released by the South Padre Island Public Information Officer.

Three of the players — Jahlas, Spencer Benton (a sophomore defensive end) and Matt Swoyer (a junior defensive back in 2015-16) — helped the woman once she got to shore.

Castro was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, according to a police incident report. Police said Castro’s blood alcohol content was nearly twice the state’s legal limit of 0.08.

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