BREWER, Maine — The taillights of a car in front of Tyler Eagan and his girlfriend Amber Cates disappeared from sight on July 5 and instead of just continuing on their way, the two young adults turned around to investigate why.
City and police officials say their actions saved the life of the man driving the car in front of them, who somehow skidded off North Main Street right into the Penobscot River.
“The vehicle was sinking” into the moving water upside down when found by the couple, and Tyler dove right in to save the driver while Cates used her cellphone to call 911, Brewer police Capt. Jason Moffitt said.
“Tyler had to break a window to get him,” he said, adding the vehicle was in about four feet of water, which added to the danger.
For their efforts, Eagan and Cates were both recognized and commended for their “extraordinary efforts to save the life of an accident victim” during Tuesday’s Brewer City Council meeting.
“On July 5 these two individuals chose to make a difference,” said Councilor Kevin O’Connell, just before presenting the two with plaques in their honor. “They actually made the day count. They did a great thing.”
Police Chief Perry Antone also presented Eagan and Cates with challenge coins and said, “it’s a wonder this person even survived.” He added their actions are “truly an act of great heroism.”
The two life savers and a half-dozen of their family members thanked the council after the presentation, which was the first item on the two-page agenda.
The Rev. Bob Carlson, president of Penobscot Community Health Care, spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting and requested a waiver for the new 28,500-square-foot Brewer Medical Center on Wilson Street.
Carlson said PCHC officials missed the April deadline to apply for the waiver, and asked the council to consider the waiver application anyways.
“We’re simply asking you to waive that equipment rental tax,” Carlson said.
The total amount owed is around $14,000, and Carlson explained that, “We went from four exam rooms to 40” at the new facility which opened in September 2010.
“We’re not going to take any action tonight,” Mayor Joseph Ferris said, adding city officials would talk about the waiver at a later executive session. “We’ll certainly talk about it and get some advice from our attorney” before making a decision.
During the rest of the meeting, the council also:
- Accepted a combined $3,000 in donations for Brewer Days from Marden’s, Trans-Tech Industries, Brewer Federal Credit Union and Joel and Jacquelyn Dearborn.
- Accepted two grants from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, one for $15,000 for improvements to the library and another $6,500 to purchase 28 high visibility jackets for firefighters.
- Accepted grant funds from Healthy Maine Partnerships and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services for a medicine return box for the police department.
- Hired James W. Sewall Co. of Old Town to survey portions of Green Point Road and Elm Street for an amount not to exceed $9,000.
- Accepted $86,684 in forfeited drug funds from a successfully prosecuted federal criminal cases that involved Brewer officers. The police chief said some of the funds would be used to purchase cameras for the department’s vehicles.
- Decided to switch City Hall from oil heat to natural gas once a gas main is installed down Main Street.
- Refinanced existing bonds to achieve an overall savings over $300,000 otherwise paid in interest.
- Ratified a new one-year fire department contract with no raises.