PAINESVILLE, Ohio --
It was a frightening experience for a local woman who nearly lost her life after the car she was driving ended up in a river. The woman has an unknown hero to thank for her survival.
"Before Seeley Road, that's the last thing I remember, and I woke up in the car with water up to my knees," said 42-year-old Noel Bottesch, of Painesville.
Bottesch had just fueled up her vehicle, and was heading home, when she became dizzy, blacked out and drove her Kia into the freezing Grand River.
"I may have panicked for a moment, but it's interesting how your instincts kick in," Bottesch said.
Bottesch suffers from Syncope, a medical condition which causes you to become dizzy and even blackout after a fall in blood pressure. Bottesch hadn’t had an episode in seven years until last Thursday.
"I had the flu, and there were other stressers,” the mother of three said. “I just didn't feel well."
Bottesch quickly became alert after plunging into the water and knew exactly what to do thanks to a TV show.
"After seeing the show, Dual Survivor, of how to get out of a car, I cranked the window down and climbed out of the car," Bottesch recalled.
Still weak from her blackout, Bottesch had a hard time getting out of the sinking vehicle and staying afloat in the 12-foot river.
"This gentleman, a Caucasian, basically came out of nowhere and said, 'Don't worry about it honey,' 'sweetie,' whatever, I can't remember exactly, and he put his arm around my neck and towed me to shore," added Bottesch.
To this day, Bottesch still has no idea who her guardian angel was that day, the guy who got out of his car, took off his tie, jumped into the river to save her life. She has a message for the gentleman she's calling a hero.
"If he doesn't want to be known, I respect that,” said Bottesch. “I want him to know that I appreciate what he did from the bottom of my heart and I'm very grateful, because things could be different."
Bottesch is at home resting for the next week. She teaches Social Studies at Kirtland Middle School and hopes to be back in the classroom in two weeks.