Collier County deputies hailed after jumping into action to save worker’s life

Published: May 27, 2021 5:19 PM EDT

Three Collier County deputies are being hailed as heroes after quick thinking saved a man’s life earlier this week.

The deputies said they were just doing their jobs, but without their fast response, the man might have died.

It happened Tuesday morning in the Pelican Marsh community. A lawn maintenance worker was mowing on an incline when he and the mower tipped over, landing in water. The man was trapped under the mower for 10 minutes.

The panicked 911 calls tell the story as neighbors desperately tried to help the 51-year-old.

“He’s not moving!”

“He’s going to drown.”

“A guy and a tractor went into the lake and there’s no way I can get him out – I’m too old!”

Neighbors who saw it happen rushed to help, but the mower was too heavy.

“They’re all trying to lift it. We couldn’t lift it at first because it was still running and there was fire and smoke coming out of it.”

“This is a nightmare.”

“Oh my gosh; oh my gosh.”

The dispatcher calmly tells them that “We’ve got all kinds of help coming as soon as they can, OK?”

Among that help was CCSO Cpl. Pierre Jean.

“I saw him from far away. Inside the water literally lifeless,” he said. “And I don’t know what came over me, I just lifted it the second time with the help of the other two and got him out with just enough time.”

Jean was then joined by Cpl. David Donzanti and Det. James Kleinheinz.

“When the call came in, all I could think of was, you know, I have to get there quick,” Kleinheinz said.

They each took turns giving CPR. Together, they saved the man’s life.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time it has a bad outcome. Luckily this time was a good outcome,” Donzanti said. “It’s a good feeling anytime you can help save a life. And it’s pretty much the reason we do this job is to be in the right place at the right time and it just happened to be that us three were the ones that were in the right place.”

“It was definitely a miracle,” Jean said.

Those deputies are thinking about the man they saved. He has worked for Pelican Marsh for 21 years. WINK News checked in at the hospital where he’s listed in fair condition.