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WARREN, Mich. — A Detroit-area woman who authorities initially thought had died after her car was submerged in a flood has met the man who carried her to safety in the waist-high waters.
Dustin Rowan lifted Jena David onto his shoulders to save her in the Aug. 11 storm, carrying her into Buddy’s Pizza where he and others tried to revive the unconscious woman. The pair met again Sunday in the same Warren restaurant, The Detroit News reported.
“I’m very thankful,” David, 30, said to Rowen.
“I just did what I had to,” said Rowen, 25, an optician who recently moved to Michigan from Spokane, Washington. “It was a crazy night.”
Staff and customers who were at Buddy’s when Rowen carried David into the restaurant recalled their efforts.
“She was shivering, and when she was first brought in, someone said to get a blanket,” said restaurant employee Debra Deason. “We’re a restaurant — we don’t have blankets. So I grabbed a tablecloth and covered her with that.”
Judy Szczesny, 76, who was at the restaurant during the flood, tried to keep David warm by putting a hooded sweatshirt over her. On Sunday, she presented David with the sweatshirt.
“I’m so happy you’re OK,” she said. “I wouldn’t have missed this.”
Officials say David was unconscious when firefighters arrived and transported her to a hospital, where she regained consciousness. David said she later saw a news report about a 30-year-old woman who had died after being carried into a Buddy’s Pizza location by an unknown man and realized that people were talking about her. Warren police say officials mistakenly reported her dead in the confusion.
Two people died in the flood: Julia Sarno, 100, who drowned in the water-filled basement of her Warren home; and an unnamed 68-year-old Warren man who died while pushing his car on a flooded Oak Park street. Those deaths have been confirmed by coroners.