Young Couple Named Red Cross Real Heros

Joy Hollowell

Updated 3 years ago

Amber Cates and Tyler Eagan had only been dating a few months when both of their lives would change forever.It was July 5th, and the couple was driving back from Calais early in the morning.As Joy Hollowell tells us, what happened next turned both Cates and Eagan into 2011 American Red Cross Real Heros.======It was early in the morning after July 4th, when Tyler Eagan and Amber Cates were heading back home on Route Nine in Brewer.”I’m kind of zoning at this point, because its 1:30 in the morning,” says Eagan.”There’s a car in front of us,” says Cates. “The lights are faced to us, we were like, OK, are we in the wrong lane or is he?””It was kind of surreal when I figured out that he was coming towards us,” adds Eagan. “And we very narrowly missed him.”Amber watched as the car hit the back of a big rig parked on the side of the road. It then bounced back and swerved to the left, up what appeared to be a side street.”And in fact, when we turned around, there was no road,” says Cates.”Basically, we saw some tire tracks,” says Eagan. “And then we saw some clearing in the brush. And we looked down the clearing.””There was his car, upside down,” says Cates. “All we could see was the tires upside down. And it was completely submerged in the water.”Amber called 9-1-1 while Tyler headed down the embankment.”When I got down to the car, the first thing I did was start screaming and yelling – who are you, do you know your name?” says Eagan. “I didn’t know if anyone was going to respond or not.”But someone did.”He just keeps saying he’s running out of air, he can’t breathe,” says Cates.”He was crying for help, basically,” says Eagan. “I tried talking to him, try to calm him down. I was walking, swimming a little bit of both. I basically had on just some flip flops and I had shorts and a t-shirt on that night. And it was cold, it was very, very cold.”Eagan was asked- “Was there a point where you were thinking- what am I doing?””The whole time,” he replies with a grin.Tyler yelled up to Amber to find something to break the car’s window.”We came up with random ideas,” says Cates. “And finally we found a hammer (laughs), and we were like, that will work, that will work.””I broke the back window and basically just circling the car,” says Eagan. “I was able to find where the doors were. And I grabbed the door knob and started to open it, but it was kind stuck and I really couldn’t open the door. I took my knife and broke open the door window with it, and took him out.””I helped carry him up the bank,” says Cates. “He was asking questions like- where am I? Why am I here? He thought he was on I-95, I think. He was way off.”By this time, emergency crews had shown up. the driver was taken to a local hospital where the couple learned he suffered just minor injuries.”Which is amazing because he cleared so many trees,” says Cates.The next day, Tyler and Amber headed back to the scene. Tyler found dog tags belonging to the victim. They learned he was a veteran of the Iraq War.”If we didn’t notice him, nobody would have noticed him until the next day,” says Cates.”I like feel a lot more people do a lot better things than what we did,” says Eagan. “But at the same time, I feel good about the whole situation.”++++Amber Cates and Tyler Eagan were among those honored on November 17th at the American Red Cross Real Heros Breakfast.


MENU