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2 St. Louis County police officers rescue driver from flooded car

"They are more than heroes," said one neighbor

ST. LOUIS — It happened in a flash in the midst of a powerful, historic rainstorm that pounded the St. Louis region.

On the afternoon of July 28, a California woman was suddenly trapped in her car as floodwaters kept rising near Hodiamont and Horton Place in west St. Louis.

"I was riding in the area and then I look to the right and I heard a woman screaming for help," said Officer Matt Shute.

"It was my end of shift and the beginning of his shift. That's why we ended up passing each other," said Officer Anthony Beffa.

The St. Louis County police officers immediately stopped and jumped into action.

"I just thought to myself that if he's going in, I'm going in," Beffa said.

"I got out of the car and took all of my gear off. The water came up to my neck," Shute said.

A fearless Officer Shute swam across the neck-high water to rescue the desperate driver.

She was all alone.

"She was still kind of freaking out and I was trying to get the door opened, but all of the electronics on the door were fried," said Shute.

He wasn't giving up.

The water kept filling up the woman's car and that's not all.

"Manhole covers can come up. You have trees and things that are moving around in the water," added Shute.

"You have the lightning that was going on and all the powerlines," added Beffa.

Fortunately, just in the nick of time.

"I don't know how I got the door opened, but I got it opened," said Shute.

The soaked, but cool-headed county police officer then got the frantic woman out of her flooded car.

She held on to her purse as both MetroLink officers held on to her and got her to safe ground.

Neighbors say that frightful day the rising, relentless water trapped several drivers in their cars in that neighborhood.

Witnesses are so relieved those to St. Louis County police officers were in that area at the right time and heard that driver's cries for help.

"I love it that they jumped into action so fast. They're beyond heroes," said neighbor Tamisha Prayer.

Humble heroes who say they were just doing their jobs.

"If you ask any police officer on the department why did they become a police officer? The number one answer that you're gonna get is to help people and that's what we did," said Officer Beffa.

Shute has been with the St. Louis County Police Department for five years.

Beffa's been on the force for nine years.

The water rescue was a first for both officers.

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