The crash happened on July 15th on Pamela Dennis’ way back from Lake Charles, Louisiana. She was about a 25 min drive from her home in Vinton.

She was transporting a puppy in urgent need of a foster home. While she was driving, the puppy got spooked and jumped to her feet.  Pamela quickly decided to take the nearest exit, which was a mile before hers, to move him safely.  As she went to slow down at the exit, she realized the pup was making it difficult to brake. She glanced down to move him with her foot, and the next thing she knew she had suddenly left the road.

She quickly realized she was heading down wet grass towards the water under the overpass. There wasn’t much time nor any way to return to the road.  She didn’t want to hit the concrete piers, so in an effort to best brace for a crash, she steered towards the water.

She thought the water was only 4 or 5 feet deep, but as the car began to fill up, she realized it was much deeper.

She had her 4-year-old granddaughter with her, who couldn’t swim yet, so the feeling of panic quickly ensued her.

The App That Changed Everything

Since they live in Louisiana and have had several hurricanes, the Dennis family had previously downloaded a location-sharing app called LIFE360.

When they had two major hurricanes six weeks apart, Pamela, her son, and her youngest daughter lost their homes permanently. Her oldest daughter lived with 6 kids and had no kitchen for about 6 months. LIFE360 enabled them to find each other, check on family & friends and stay connected when they were scattered.

Little did they know that there would be other ways that the app would become useful.

When Pamela crashed into the water, it sent out an alert to her family. Her daughter called her after receiving the alert.

When Pamela didn't answer, her daughter called the Vinton Police Dept.

The Rescue

Luckily, the first officer was close by. Seeing that her car was now underwater, he heroically jumped in and started breaking out the back glass.

Shortly after, the second officer arrived and started to help. When the officers broke through the glass, Pamela first handed them Elly, her granddaughter, and next the puppy. Before Pamela could escape, the car became completely submerged.

The circle shows Pamela's taillights as her car became sumberged under the water. Photo Courtesy of Pamela Dennis

She told Be Inspired: “I was living everyone’s nightmare of drowning in my car. As I struggled to kick the window out, the two officers were working on breaking my sunroof. I am not sure how long I was underwater, but my lungs started to burn, and it hit me that I may not survive. Then something came over me. I was still and prayed that Elly would not remember this accident and seeing me drown. That’s when I felt someone grab my shoulders and pull me through the sunroof. I am not sure how to describe that first breath of air and seeing my granddaughter. I sat on land choking out muddy water all while trying to thank these heroic officers.”

While trying to kick out the glass from the crash Pamela flared up an old injury and will need to undergo ankle surgery.  This surgery and the recovery required to follow, unfortunately, is very costly and will leave her unable to walk for at least 2 months.  To help,  her daughter created a GoFundMe campaign to assist in covering the expenses her insurance won't cover.  If you'd like to contribute to Pamela's recovery, you can visit and donate here: https://gofund.me/6c23f341

Using Her Experience To Create A Positive Impact

Pamela never thought an app on her phone would be so instrumental in saving their lives. Without that app, she is certain her and her granddaughter wouldn’t have survived. Even just two minutes later and it could have been a story about a woman, her granddaughter and a puppy drowning in their car.

When asked about her experience, Pamela shared, “My story may be rare, but this app could help save someone else’s life. You know we live in this world and think about making a difference. But sadly most of us live our lives thinking there isn’t anything we can do that has an impact. What if my story reached someone and it was able to save their lives as well? I would have played a part in making this amazing difference.”

While Pamela knows not everyone may not be be rescued in time, she feels confident that with LIFE360 many people would have a better chance.

Pamela shared her story in hopes that through her experience, someone else may use this app, it could save their life just as it did hers, and in doing so she could make a difference. Quite inspiring indeed!

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