KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — A Knox County family is thankful their teenage son is alive after his car hydroplaned and sunk in a pond.
They say it happened on Hardin Valley Road on Friday night.
17-year-old Matt McDowell says somehow the driver’s window went down after he hydroplaned, hit a ditch, went into the air and landed in a pond right off Hardin Valley Road.
As the car started sinking, he quickly grabbed his phone in the back seat and called 911.
That’s when he realized his window was down.
"I don’t remember hitting it or pulling it down, it was just down," McDowell said.
McDowell escaped through the window and the competitive swimmer got to land.
"I firmly believe it was either God or an angel," said Shirley McDowell, Matt's mother, who said she got the call from a paramedic when she and her husband, Chris McDowell, were out celebrating their 28th wedding anniversary.
Knoxville Fire Department says it all depends on the situation, but there are some tools you can have on hand if this happens to you.
"Put this on there, popping it like that, glass will shatter quick," Knoxville Fire Department Capt. DJ Corcoran said. "Even underwater."
Corcoran said if you can, you can try to open your door or window before it sinks and cut yourself out of your seat belt if you have to.
"I'm just thankful for that window being down, and I have God to thank for that because if it wasn't for that I would have probably died," McDonnell said.
"We had just gotten back from looking at his car and looking at the pond, and we just sat in our car holding hands and crying and thanking and praising God that our son was alive and well," Shirley McDonnell said.
The McDowells want to thank all the first responders and the dispatcher who they say stayed on the phone with Matt the whole time he was in the car and swimming to safety.