Park visitors: 'goodness of God' allowed them to save man from sinking car

A massive fire at a biodiesel plant in Orange Mound forced the evacuation of workers and people who live nearby.

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A dive team recovered a vehicle in Poplar Tree Lake on Grassy Lake Road after park visitors saved the man driving the car.

According to Shelby County Sheriff's Office, a man drove his vehicle into the lake. It was a decision that almost cost him his life, if not for the total strangers who jumped in.

Park patrons saw the man drive into the lake, so they went into action. They were able to pull him to safety.

"It sank in a matter of minutes," Willie Knox said.

It was certainly not what Knox expected to see when he came out to fish at Poplar Tree Lake in Shelby Forest.

"He accelerated and drove into the water," Knox said.

The car was driven over a landing and straight into the water.

Shelby County deputies said the driver drove his car intentionally into the water.

"I jumped in my truck and went over to the guy and got him as he was going under the water," Knox said.

Knox said it took three men, including himself, to pull the man through his window by his leg. The men pulled him to safety as the car sank.

"Had we not been down, no telling what would have happened," Knox said.

Divers spent hours working to recover the sunken car, which was eventually lifted to safety. Deputies said the driver was taken to the hospital for a mental evaluation.

For the onlookers who saw the incident, they believe it was more than coincidence they were there to help.

"The goodness of God to save the guy, everyone was in the right place at the right time," Knox said.

Copyright 2016 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.