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‘I’m not a hero,’ Man catches woman allegedly attempting to kill children, saves family

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BURLINGTON COUNTY, N.J. (NBC) – A New Jersey man is being hailed a hero because he jumped into a freezing river to save a family.

Darnell Taylor said, “As we were driving by here, I seen a car down by the boat ramp.”

Police say 49-year-old Joann Smith intentionally drove her car into the water in an attempt to kill her three children.

Fortunately, a good Samaritan was in the right place at the right time.

Darnell Taylor was heading to dinner with his wife when he noticed the van submerged in the water of the Delaware River.

He stopped his car and his wife dialed 911.

Taylor said, “That’s when I got out of the car and could hear people screaming. A young girl screaming, so I took off my jacket, jumped in and swam out there.”

Without hesitation, Taylor jumped into the frigid waters of the Delaware River to save the family.

He said, “I couldn’t get the window open because it wasn’t a pop-out window. So I kept telling the young lady, ‘Kick the window, kick the window out.’ And, you know, she kicked it out.”

Taylor was able to pull the young girl, her two brothers and their mother to safety.

Bob Lane said, “He saved them. That water is not warm and he dove in.”

While those living in the small town call Darnell a hero, he says he just did what he thought was right.

He said, “I’m not a hero. I’m just a member of this community. And anybody else would have done the same thing.”

Investigators say Joann Smith intentionally accelerated, drove her van onto the boat ramp and went into the water.

Smith was arrested and charged with three counts of attempted murder and three counts of child endangerment.

The children are currently staying with relatives.