RUDDOCK, La. -- The long drive from Ponchatoula into New Orleans hit a snag when Josh Burns and his wife came upon the ninth mile marker of I-55's southbound lanes Friday morning.
"On the other side, saw a lot of commotion, some people coming over to the side of the road," he said, "So my wife and I pulled over, when we looked over the edge, there was a dump truck, fifth wheel, in the water."
State Police say a white pick-up truck, with double-rear tires and a trailer, cut off the dump truck, sending it over the edge of the northbound span. Below, and in between the two bridges, a man popped out of the water.
"Was very frantic, he started yelling something, couldn't hear him, then he ended up saying his kid was in the truck," Burns said.
Fueled by the bond of fatherhood, and driven by his experience as a Green Beret, Burns jumped into the chilly waterway to help.
"I think I was more afraid how I would feel about myself if I had just watched a family drown and I just sat there," he said about the decision.
After unsuccessfully pulling on door handles, a motorist from above lowered a crowbar, which Burns used to break a window.
"At that point I felt her, or the baby, I'm not sure, grab my arm and I could feel them and I felt that they were still moving," he said, "So I knew they had some sort of air pocket, I just didn't know how long it was going to last for."
Burns quickly busted out another window, cutting himself in the process, in order to pull a woman and her toddler out of the submerged truck safely. The family of three ended up with only minor injuries, leaving many calling the outcome miraculous, while hailing Burns a hero.
"Just the right place, right time," he said, "I would hope that if I were in the same situation, someone would do the same thing for me and my family."
A motivation of humanity, over heroism.
If you have any information about the truck, or driver, suspected in the crash, contact your local State Police office.
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