Mission honors passerby for dramatic rescue of driver trapped in car under water

Mission Police Chief Ben Hadley presented the award to Angel Torres-Molina who rescued Cassandra Ballard. With Ballard for the presentation were her children, mother and brother.
Mission Police Chief Ben Hadley presented the award to Angel Torres-Molina who rescued Cassandra Ballard. With Ballard for the presentation were her children, mother and brother.

On December 15, Cassandra Ballard was driving north on I-35 in Mission between Metcalf and Lamar when her car went off the side of the highway, slid down the embankment and landed upside down in the creek. If it had not been for Angel Torres-Molina, who was four cars back and saw Ballard go off the road, she likely would not be alive today.

Torres-Molina was the passerby who stopped at the accident and ran down to dive into the freezing water, break out the car window, get Ballard’s seatbelt unfastened and pull her from the car where she was trapped underwater. “Had he not stopped, we would not have gotten there in time,” said Mission Police Chief Ben Hadley.

For his rescue, Mission honored Torres-Molina with the city’s “Life Saving Award” at Wednesday’s city council meeting. He received two standing ovations from the crowd as he was reunited with Cassandra, who attended the meeting with her mother, two children and her brother. “The Lord sent us an Angel (that day),” her mother told the crowd.

Ballard, who apparently blacked out leading to the accident, said she regained consciousness momentarily as Torres-Molina broke out the car window. The “next thing I knew,” she said, “ I was sitting on the (creek) bank.”

Torres-Molina said he usually did not drive that route in the mornings, but just happened to take it that day.

Cassandra Ballard's car as it came to rest in the creek on the day of the accident last December. She was trapped inside until Angel Torres-Molina pulled her out.
Cassandra Ballard’s car as it came to rest in the creek on the day of the accident last December. She was trapped inside until Angel Torres-Molina pulled her out.