California woman tells her story after St. Louis County officers save her from flood waters

Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 10:28 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - California resident Roslyn Brewer was in St. Louis on July 28 to visit family. She had just picked up her rental car and was on her way to grab lunch for her brother and sister-in-law when flood waters started to rise.

“It was raining really hard,” Brewer said. “I pulled over to the side to see if it would slow down a bit.”

Brewer was thousands of miles from home and nowhere near prepared for this historic flooding.

“I saw two cars, they went past me,” Brewer explained. “If they can go I can go, so I started off. Around the curb, I must have hit a pocket of water because the car cut off.”

She was stranded at Hodiamont and Horton in the West End neighborhood. With her battery now dead, Brewer called her brother, asking him to come find her to jump her car.

“I noticed water started coming in from the door and I thought to myself ‘where is this water coming from?” Brewer shared. “The next thing I knew, it was up to the steering wheel.”

She was able to roll her windows down, but not far enough to climb out of the car. That’s when Brewer said she did all she could to shout for help. Fortunately, that’s when help arrived.

“I saw the officer was there at the window and he was very calm, very calm and he was saying, ‘miss work with me, help me push,” Brewer explained. “We pushed and he got me out and got me to safety.”

“It’s not something I’ve ever received training for. I mean I swam when I was in the Marine corps, through swim quals, but nothing like this,” St. Louis County Officer Matthew Shute said.

Cellphone video shows Officer Shute rushing into the water and swimming to Brewer’s car.

Shute got her out of the car. That’s when a second officer, Anthony Beffa, helped him carry Brewer out of the high water.

“You don’t know if there’s trees or sharp objects floating through the water while you’re in it,” Officer Shute explained, “It’s kind of different. Something I’ve never experienced.”

Major concerns for the officers were lightning strikes and powerlines nearby.

“It could happen at any time, and we were both in the water with her,” Officer Beffa shared. “If anything, happened, it would’ve been all three of us, so we just needed to get in and out as quick as we could.”

“I never got their names, I didn’t know who they were...but they saved my life,” Brewer said.

“It feels weird because I don’t like to be in the spotlight for something like this,” Beffa explained. “Which is why I would put this on everybody because we’re just two people out of an entire unit doing the same thing.”