New Orleans Saints defensive lineman Mitchell Loewen was having brunch with his wife and 2-year-old son Sunday when he heard a loud noise that sounded like an explosion.
“People were screaming,” Loewen told nola.com of the patrons at the New Orleans restaurant. “It sounded like a bomb or an earthquake or something.”
Turns out, an SUV had crashed through a concrete barrier and fallen four stories from the top of a nearby parking garage to the ground. Loewen said he rushed outside and noticed a man in his mid-20s pinned inside the overturned vehicle.
“I wasn’t going to just stand by and watch,” Loewen told nola.com. “It was a life-or-death situation.”
The 6-foot-5, 275-pound player added: “There was no way I could have dragged him out of that, so I called for people to come help and about 10 of us flipped the car onto its side.”
After the group got the vehicle upright, one person crawled in and indicated the passenger was still conscious. Loewen ripped one of the doors off the hinges and helped comfort the man until paramedics arrived.
“He didn’t say much, he was just thanking us all. I hugged him and told him he was going to be OK, and then I prayed with him,” Loewen told nola.com. “I couldn’t tell how bad his injuries were, but there was a lot of blood and broken glass.”
Police have not identified the victim or revealed the extent of his injuries, but he is expected to survive. The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
Loewen, who played in two games for the Saints last year, called the incident “a life-changing experience.”
“It was like a movie,” he told nola.com. “I just did what I had to do, and I wasn’t thinking about anything else.”