Photo/Story Gallery 2004

Trooper Rescues Couple From Canal

Trooper Mary GodinoUpon arriving at the scene of a traffic crash Northbound on I-95 in West Palm Beach, Trooper Mary Godino learned from bystanders that two vehicles had plunged into the deep canal and that an elderly couple was still trapped inside their overturned car.

Trooper Godino, along with several citizens on the scene, entered the canal, trudged through deep muddy water, and climbed over the partially submerged vehicle to get the couple out. After breaking out one of the windows, Trooper Godino and the bystanders were able to pull the occupants to safety.

Luckily, 80-year-old Joseph Steg and his wife, Sylvia, 77, were not seriously injured. The 18-year-old driver of the other vehicle suffered only minor injuries as well. Joseph Steg said that the FHP trooper and several of the bystanders were very brave and he was very grateful for their help. Thanks to Trooper Mary Godino and some helpful citizens, the elderly couple’s lives were saved!

Published on Tuesday, February 3, 2004
in the Palm Beach Post

Two cars end up in canal after crash on I-95

WEST PALM BEACH — An elderly couple were pulled from their car this morning after it overturned into a canal on Interstate 95 in West Palm Beach.

The twosome — 80-year-old Joseph Steg and 77-year-old Sylvia Steg — were traveling north on I-95 near 45th Street about 10:30 a.m. when another car swerved into their lane and struck them, said Lt. Pat Santangelo, a Florida Highway Patrol spokesman.

Both cars ended up in a canal alongside the road. A passer-by and an FHP trooper pulled the Stegs from their overturned car. They were not seriously injured but were taken to a hospital as a precaution, Santangelo said.

The second car was driven by 18-year-old Richard Noel of Pompano Beach, according to the FHP. He also received minor injuries.

The crash is still under investigation, and no citations or charges had been issued by this afternoon.

Published on Wednesday, February 4, 2004
in the

Couple Thanks Rescuers After Crashing Into Canal

Husband Says He Cannot Believe They Survived

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A couple who were rescued from a canal after a crash on Interstate 95 said Tuesday that they are grateful to the strangers who saved their lives.

Joe Steg, 80, watched the rescue video from the I-95 crash that somehow didn’t kill him.

“Oh my God. The car is flipped over,” Steg said. “I can’t believe it. We’re alive.”

Total strangers who witnessed the crash and a Florida highway patrol trooper climbed over the car and trudged through muddy water to pull Steg, and his wife, Sylvia (pictured, right), 77, to safety.

“I remember getting hit somewhere, and my car started to go toward the canal,” Steg said. “That’s all I remember. Nothing else.”

Steg said the FHP trooper, Mary Godino, and several witnesses were brave.

“I really wasn’t thinking except when I got there, I knew I was going in,” Godino said.

“I did what I had to do without thinking, I guess,” rescuer Crady Baker said.

“The help I received from the fire department and police and from strangers is most unbelievable,” Steg said.

This survival story for the Stegs doesn’t compare to the one that they endured decades ago.

The Stegs are Jewish. Joe escaped several labor camps during World War II. Sylvia survived four years in concentration camps during the Holocaust.

They both lost most of their families.

Liberation is a feeling they’ve experienced twice now, with hope and strangers to help set them free.

“Amazing what a human being can go through,” Steg said.

FHP officials said the 18-year-old driver who hit the Stegs on I-95 was not se