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Vehicle Ends Up In River By Lorenzo Bridge

It was a frightening Sunday night for a Sugar City teenager after driving straight into the Snake River with a car full of people.

Richard Calvin Pingry, Jr., 16, mistook a section of North Yellowstone Highway for an on-ramp to Highway 20, which landed him in the river.

Lucky for him, help was on the way.

To Adam Christensen Sunday night was full of miracles.

“I kept my cool and I did what I knew had to be done,” said Christensen.

He was driving over the Lorenzo Bridge on the border of Madison and Jefferson Counties when he saw a car next to him signal a merge onto the highway, and then dip down into darkness.

“My wife was like ‘Is there a boat ramp there?’ I was thinking, ‘No, that just drops right off into the river’,” said Christensen.

Christensen is familiar with the area and knew that stretch of road next to him ended in the river.

So he, his wife and his sister-in-law turned off at the Lorenzo boat access ramp.

They heard cries for help coming from the water and quickly dialed 911 for help.

“We called 911, and the dispatcher asked me how many people there were. I told him at least two because that’s how many voices I could hear,” said Christensen.

Those voices were coming from Calvin, the driver, and another teenage passenger who rolled down windows and jumped out as soon as the car hit the water.

Adam was able to pull them from the bank of the river.

Calvin’s father and two other teenage passengers didn’t get out as soon, but according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office they were able to swim to shore.

“It doesn’t feel like we did much. We were just put here at the right place and the right time,” said Amanda Christensen.

Two of the passengers are actually in Idaho from Columbia with an international dance festival.

Donna Benfield with the Rexburg Chamber of Commerce Monday said the dancers and all the victims of the crash are in good health, with only minor bumps and bruises following what could have been a deadly accident.

Adam Christensen was a medic with the United States military and his wife is a former lifeguard.

Jefferson County Emergency Services have successfully retrieved the car from the water.

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