W BROWARD (CBS4) – Seventeen-year-old Darin Baldwin had dreams of going to college next year. But Baldwin’s life ended Monday evening as he tried to save the life of his 12-year-old cousin Henry.
“He’s a hero to me,” said Darin’s father, Darin Baldwin, Sr. “He’s my son, but he’s my hero.”
Darin was riding in a Ford Explorer on U.S. 27 just south of Griffin Road Monday when the driver lost control and the car ended up in a canal.
The driver, identified as 40-year old Walter Horn Jr., and Charlotte Davis, 42, were able to escape from the sinking SUV and swam to shore. Darin Baldwin, 17, and his cousin Walter Horn III, 15, were also able to escape but swam back to help Horn’s cousin, 12-year old Henry, who was struggling to escape the vehicle
“The tire blew out on the truck, the truck went in the water,” Darin, Sr. said. “My brother got his wife out, he got his cousin out, his other cousin was still in the water. He dove back in the water to get his cousin out.”
Henry eventually made it to the bank of the canal thanks to Darin’s help. But no one could find Darin for the next 10 minutes, until it was too late. The family was taken to the Cleveland Clinic in Weston where Baldwin died around 8 p.m.
“Unfortunately, when he dove back in the water, we don’t know if he got trapped under the vehicle, but he gave his life trying to save his first cousin’s life,” Darin, Sr. said. “That’s the ultimate sacrifice. What more can a man give then that.”
But Darin’s family said the selfless act to save his cousin was the kind of person Darin was in life. CBS4’s Ted Scouten asked Darin’s cousin Daniel Ferguson if he wished Darin would have just stayed on the bank and Ferguson said it didn’t matter.
“No, he wouldn’t of, even if you tried to hold him on the bank, it wasn’t him,” Ferguson said. “He went in to save his family and lost his life.”
The Broward Sheriff’s Office has not determined what the exact cause of the crash was on Monday evening, despite the family saying it was due to a blown tire.