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SUV crashes into new pool; homeowner saves driver

Fourth Precinct officers respond to a call in

Fourth Precinct officers respond to a call in which a Good Samaritan rescued a 79-year-old man who drove into a pool in Commack, Monday, Oct. 27, 2014, police say. Credit: Commack Fire Department

A Commack man saved the life of an elderly driver who crashed a car into his backyard swimming pool Monday afternoon, Suffolk County police said.

Jon Bacchi, 32, an electrician who was working on his house, jumped into the water to pull out Joseph DiDonato, 79, of Yorkville, Pennsylvania, about 4:45 p.m.

Police later said DiDonato was in stable condition at Huntington Hospital. He was at the hospital just for evaluation, police said.

"He was very lucky the homeowner was back there," said Commack Fire Department First Assistant Chief Andrew Babajko, who was at the scene. "The homeowner definitely is a hero."

Bacchi said he had been doing work in his backyard when DiDonato's 2010 Acura SUV "exploded" through his fence.

"I heard a loud noise and that guy just came ripping through the fence right into the pool," Bacchi said.

His first thought was "Get the guy out of the car," Bacchi said. "I just jumped in."

DiDonato was driving through the parking lot of Mayfair Foot Care at 19 Harned Rd. when he apparently pushed the gas pedal instead of the brake and smashed through Bacchi's fence, police said.

The SUV came to a rest in the deep end of the pool and the air bag deployed, but DiDonato was stuck in the vehicle as water poured in, Bacchi said.

"The window was closed; the door wouldn't open," Bacchi said. "I had my neighbor grab something and I just smashed the window open."

Bacchi managed to pull the car into the shallow end and to the edge of the pool, where he and two others standing on the side pulled DiDonato out, trying to make sure he didn't get cut on the broken glass. They sat the man down, covered him with a towel and waited for the ambulance.

Bacchi's dive was his first into his new pool. "He was the second one to go in the pool, my dog was first one yesterday, I was the third," he said.

"I'm just glad it wasn't worse," Bacchi said. "Everything can be fixed."

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