METAIRIE, La. — New Orleans Saints defensive lineman Mitchell Loewen helped a man escape from a car that had crashed down from the fourth story of a parking structure.
Loewen was having brunch with his wife and son at a New Orleans restaurant when he rushed into action Sunday. Loewen said he was the first person who walked up to the SUV, which had landed upside down, and he found a man screaming in pain and pinned into the vehicle.
Loewen said others quickly joined him, and since they couldn’t pull the man out of his position, they flipped the car over — first onto its side, then all the way onto its tires. After another bystander crawled into the car to check on the man and unlatched a back door, Loewen said he pried the door open so they could speak to the man while waiting for emergency workers.
Loewen said the entire incident lasted a couple minutes. The New Orleans Police Department would not offer any specific details on the victim (even Loewen doesn’t know his name), but they said in a statement that the victim is expected to survive.
“It was life-changing, man,” said Loewen, a third-year undrafted pro from Arkansas who is listed at 6-foot-5, 275 pounds.
“I was talking to my wife about this. There’s not many moments that your heart pumps like that in your life.
“I’d say giving life, saving life, taking life or risking life are about the only time your heart’s gonna beat like that. There’s not many things that can do for you … Just the feeling you get after something like that, I mean, I felt like I was in a movie. At the time, I had extreme confidence. I had no hesitation at all about what needed to be done. And it was just that kind of feeling and the adrenaline pumping. I mean, that’s life to the fullest right there. I felt like I was being led by God to go help that man.”
Loewen was quick to stress that he didn’t act alone, though.
“It was unreal that I was there at that moment to help out and to lead others to help out as well — and others being willing to help out — because I definitely couldn’t have done that by myself. That was no act of solely me,” Loewen said. “That was a lot of grown men working together for one purpose: to save one man that no one knew at the moment. We had no interest in this man’s life except to save it.”
NOLA.com was the first to report Loewen’s involvement in the incident.
Loewen was dining at the Willa Jean restaurant in New Orleans’ Central Business District at the time of the incident. The NOPD confirmed that a silver Mercedes Benz SUV drove off the fourth floor of a parking structure “for an unknown reason” around 1:30 p.m. and that the accident remains under investigation.
Loewen said he is eager to meet the victim and find out how he is doing. Loewen said he did have some concerns in the back of his mind about the car blowing up or hunks of cement falling from above — especially since he could smell and see gasoline leaking as he approached the car. But he said he felt the situation was safe since the car was not running.
“I was more worried about, ‘Let’s get this thing done fast before anything does happen,'” Loewen said. “And ‘We gotta act fast’ because there’s the weight of a car on a man, and he’s screaming in pain as if he’s dying right before me. And I’m not gonna sit there like, ‘Well, can’t do anything, man.'”