No doubt it was difficult for people to read the charges against a Crystal father, now accused of murdering his son for the insurance money, without losing all faith in humanity.
So here’s an antidote: Jerry Severson of Rochester, Minn., who was walking on a bridge crossing the Zumbro River just north of Byron Sunday morning when he saved the lives of two people he didn’t know.
A car had plunged into the river, the Rochester Post-Bulletin reports.
The man, 37-year-old Jian Zhong, of Rochester, was still in the driver’s seat and unable to open the door. He was pounding on the window, Severson said, “like he was saying, ‘see me, please see me.’ The sight of that guy in the car, I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.”
So Severson jumped in the river, with its 50-degree water.
“I was yelling at him, ‘get the baby out, get the baby out,’ then yelled to my mom to get a rock,” Severson said. “I thought I’d have to break the window to get her out.”
While still in the front seat, the man had been able to unbuckle his 3-year-old daughter from her car seat, then push the back door open.
Severson couldn’t stand up; the current was too strong.
As he rescued the baby in the back, he thought of his own toddler at home.
“When I saw her, and (the car) was going under, I needed (my mom) right then,” he said. “I thought I’d need her to get that rock.”
Severson, who nearly drowned as a child, rescued the baby, then helped the man to safety.
“I’m the one who had to do something — and I was scared,” he said. “It just goes to show you that anything can happen at any time.”
Then, soaking wet, Severson, his mother, and 10-year-old cousin, headed off to their destination: an outing at the zoo.