Former Seahawk kicker pulls motorist from ditch
In an NFL career that spanned 18 years, former Seahawks placekicker Norm Johnson scored more than 1,700 points and earned the nickname "Mr...
Seattle Times staff reporter
In an NFL career that spanned 18 years, former Seahawks placekicker Norm Johnson scored more than 1,700 points and earned the nickname "Mr. Automatic." But it was his arm — not his leg — that helped him free a woman trapped in an overturned car.
Johnson, who now sells real estate in Kitsap County, used a rock to break the window of the car overturned in a water-filled ditch Monday morning in Silverdale, enabling him to pull the frightened driver to safety.
"I just happened to be in the right place at the right time," Johnson said. "If I was in a car upside down, I would hope somebody would come out and save me."
Virginia Sayson, 37, said she had just dropped her two children, a first-grader and a sixth-grader, off at Cougar Valley Elementary School when she skidded on a patch of black ice on Olympic View Road and overturned in a ditch.
"I hit the black ice and I couldn't do anything. The car just spun out and rolled into the pond," Sayson said. "I blacked out momentarily."
When Sayson awoke, her 2001 Pontiac Grand Am was upside-down. The doors were jammed shut and cold water was rushing into the car, so she took off her seat belt and climbed into the back seat. Sayson couldn't find her cellphone to call for help and was convinced that she would die.
But within seconds Johnson approached Sayson. He was on his way to Cougar Valley to drop off his 11-year-old son.
"I was screaming, 'Please help me,' " Sayson said. "He came back with a big rock, gave me a sign to back up and he broke the window," Sayson said.
Johnson, 47, initially tried to force open all of the doors, but they were pinned. He even tried kicking the window, but couldn't break the glass because the car was "at a weird angle."
The rock did the trick.
Sayson said she had never heard of Johnson before and wasn't aware her children attended school with the son of a former Seahawk. Johnson played for four NFL teams, and was the Seahawks' placekicker from 1982-90. He still holds numerous Seahawks kicking and scoring records.
Sayson said she will never forget what he did for her Monday and intends to give him another hug.
"I feel very fortunate," she said. "I have a second chance to live."
Seattle Times news researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed
to this report.
Jennifer Sullivan: 206-464-8294 or email@example.com
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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