Murrells Inlet man who rescued 2 trapped in sinking car honored with award

Georgetown County Sheriff Lane Cribb, left, presented the S.C. Sheriff's Association Lifesaving Award to D.J. Nance June 1. Cribb is standing with Haley Morris, Nance and his son, Dalton, and Kate Henry.

GEORGETOWN, SC (WBTW) – Georgetown County Sheriff Lane Cribb presented a Murrells Inlet man with the SC Sheriff’s Association Lifesaving Award Thursday for saving two women in March after their car plunged into the Waccamaw River.

Haley Morris and Kate Henry were leaving the gym March 1 when they were forced to take a detour down Wachesaw Road, the press release from the sheriff’s office states. It was a foggy night with poor visibility and the women were unfamiliar with the road. Morris didn’t know she had driven on to the Wacca Wache Marina boat ramp until her Jeep was slipping into the river.

The driver tried the emergency break, but the car didn’t stop. “As it sank into the cold, black water the women couldn’t open the Jeep’s windows or doors. They realized they were trapped,” the release states.

Georgetown County Sheriff Lane Cribb, right, presents D.J. Nance with the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association Lifesaving Award.

Luckily, DJ Nance was fishing nearby and saw the car roll into the river. Nance dove in the water, swam 40 yards and got the women to unlock the doors. He pulled the driver out first, and promised to save the passenger or “die trying.” Nance was able to rescue both the driver and the passenger and all three made it safely back to the dock.

Haley’s mother, Sandy Morris, drove to the marina that night to get the two women home. “The marina was under construction and there were no lights on the restaurant or the road. I couldn’t see anything but the reflector of a deputy sheriff’s car. The girls were crying, freezing to death,” the mother said. “If DJ had not been there, the Jeep would have sunk in water 30 feet deep. We owe everything to DJ. He’s just our guardian angel.”

According to the release from the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office, both women have “re-evaluated their lives since the incident” and say Nance and his wife and children are like family to them.