Good Samaritans, crash victim identified in Natchitoches water rescue

Chris and Cathy Love, of Bethany, OK (Source: Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office)
Chris and Cathy Love, of Bethany, OK (Source: Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Office)

NATCHITOCHES, LA (KSLA) - Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Deputies have identified the couple who stopped to help rescue a Shreveport man from his SUV after it crashed into the water over the weekend.

Chris Love, 38, and Cathy Love, 36, of Bethany, Oklahoma were traveling northbound on I-49 north of Natchitoches around 7:11 p.m. Saturday when they saw that a 2002 Ford F-150 had crashed in the median.

At the scene and on Tuesday while interviewing Chris Love, deputies say he told them that when he backed up to check on the driver of that truck, he spotted what appeared to be a white SUV in the water on the right side of the interstate and could see a person inside the vehicle waving for help.

Chris Love checked on the man in the the Ford F-150 and found that he did not appear to be seriously injured before taking off his shirt and swimming to the SUV in water he estimates was 6 to 10 feet deep.

Love says he helped the man, now identified as 38-year-old Charles F. Ware Jr. of Shreveport, out through the driver's side window and soon realized that Ware could not swim.

Ware told KSLA News 12 that he climbed out of his SUV but he says quickly wore out as he tried to swim to shore in the nearly ten feet deep water.

Reassuring him that he was going to help him and encouraging him to trust him, Love recalls telling Ware that he would not let him drown.

Ware feels he could've drowned but the travelers from Oklahoma came to his rescue.

Love said that he began swimming back toward land with Ware, who was overcome with fear at some points.

He continued talking to Ware while swimming and when they reached the half-way point his wife Cathy and another man entered the water to assist them the rest of the way to land.

"The husband met me and then the wife met me a little bit before I got on land, she pulled me up and everything," said Ware.

Love said that it appeared to take forever to swim to the vehicle and back to land and that he only did what was the right thing to do, "To assist his fellow man."

Ware says he has the couple to thank for stopping and saving his life even though at the time, he didn't get their names.

"I hugged them, I said you two are my angels, but I didn't catch their names," said Ware.

Ware already has a new set of wheels, and a new perspective on life.

"I am just thanking God that I'm able to be with my wife," said Ware.

Ware was not injured.

Natchitoches Parish Sheriff's Deputies, Louisiana State Police, Natchitoches Sheriff's rescue divers, Natchitoches Regional Medical Center EMS paramedics, and Natchitoches City Fire Department responded to the scene after a 911 call was made to the NPSO 911 Center reporting the crash.

NPSO released the 911 recording to KSLA News 12 on Wednesday.

Troopers assigned to LSP Troop E determined that the two crashes were separate.

Road conditions were wet due to rain in the area.

Chris and Cathy were returning from Chris's daughters graduation services in Eunice, Louisiana and traveling to visit his grandmother in Longview, Texas at the time of the incident.

In a statement released Wednesday Sheriff, Jones commended Chris and Cathy Love for their actions that day.

"They did not hesitate to risk their own safety to help a complete stranger in time of need. Their actions exhibit true compassion and respect for their fellow man. We are very grateful to them, their actions helped an already dangerous situation from turning into what could have been a very tragic one for the occupant of the vehicle. We commend them for their bravery."

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