Multi-Vehicle Crash On Bridge; Man Peers Over Edge, Immediately Dives

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After several vehicles collided on a bridge spanning a murky Maryland bay, a mysterious man hurried to check on survivors. Bystanders watched in horror as he then peered over the edge of the railing before diving into the waters below.

After a multi-car collision on a bridge over Assawoman Bay, 51-year-old Jonathan Bauer shocked bystanders by jumping over the edge. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

While 51-year-old Jonathan Bauer drove back home with his 13-year-old daughter, Ava, after picking up a part for his boat, he decided to take a detour through Ocean City, Maryland, OC Today reported. As they drove onto the Route 90 bridge, which traverses Assawoman Bay, a vehicle in front of them captured their attention.

“The first thing I remember is hearing tires screech,” Bauer told an audience of reporters, camera operators, firefighters, and local officials. “Then [I saw] the truck swaying back and forth like someone was losing control and trying to overcompensate,” Bauer said.

Bauer, who is the vice president of information technology at Atlantic General Hospital, braced for the worst. The truck hit the cement barrier supporting the railing, spun around, and flipped over the railing, coming to rest halfway over the edge.

A truck had flipped onto the guard rail and the driver was trapped inside. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Bauer was then hit by a BMW, which shattered the passenger window glass all over his daughter. After making sure she was okay, he headed over to inspect the truck that was still propped up on the guard rail.

“I was looking at the undercarriage of the truck and someone was trying to throw open a door to get out, and from gravity, it just kept slamming shut,” he said.

By the time he go to the truck, the driver had freed himself. When Bauer spoke to the driver, the man simply pointed down to the water as if in a state of shock. When Bauer peered over the edge, his heart sank.

“I saw the car seat and some other items,” Bauer said. “Then, about six feet away from the car seat, was a little girl.”

Jonathan Bauer
Jonathan Bauer looked over the side of the bridge to see a 2-year-old girl fighting to stay afloat in the water. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Approximately 25 feet blow, Jonathan Bauer saw a 2-year-old child floating on her back in a little pink dress, flailing her arms and kicking her legs. Bauer quickly scanned the bay for nearby boats. Seeing none, he turned and yelled back at his daughter to stay in the car. In one swift move, he kicked off his shoes and dove into the water below.

“By that time, she had flipped over onto her stomach and her face was in the water,” he said.

Bauer entered the water feet first and swam to the child, who was unconscious at this point. He then lifted her out of the water and placed her over his shoulder, patting her back aggressively until she began to cough up water.

Jonathan Bauer dove over the guard rail, took the toddler over his shoulder, and patted her back until she coughed up the water and began to breathe. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

Bauer managed to stay afloat with the little girl until a pontoon boat pulled up a few minutes later to rescue them. EMS and first responders waiting ashore then rushed the child to the hospital. She was soon released without injury.

“Jonathan’s truly a humble hero and that’s what makes this even more special than it already was,” Mayor Rick Meehan said at a conference honoring Bauer and the emergency responders. “This is a day of thank-yous. This was a really tragic accident … the ending of the story is everyone is OK, and they’re OK because of everyone in this room.”

Ava expressed her pride in her dad before becoming emotional. She explained that the moment she saw her dad climb over the railing was “the scariest day of my life.”

Jonathan Bauer
Jonathan Bauer didn’t desire any praise, but he deserves to be recognized as a hero. (Photo Credit: Screenshot)

First responders confirmed that if Jonathan Bauer hadn’t dove into the water, the little girl wouldn’t have survived. Had he waited even seconds more, she may not have recovered without injury.

At first, Bauer refused to come forward because he wanted to make sure the little girl and her family were okay. Now that we know this hero’s name, we can give him the praise he deserves.