Brothers save woman, dogs trapped in sinking minivan: 'We got to get the lady out'

HENRICO COUNTY, Va.— Neighbors are celebrating two brothers who pulled a woman and two of her three dogs from a minivan before it was swept into a raging creek in Henrico County Thursday evening.

Michael and Wesley Shook came upon the scene as the Rocky Branch creek along  Hermitage Road off Staples Mill Road rose quickly as Tropical Storm Michael dumped inches of rain across the area.

“I seen the van submerged and we decided we were going to pull in and I asked him to roll down the window," Michael Shook told WTVR.

"We asked if anyone was trapped in the car and we got a response of, 'Yes, there was a woman and three dogs trapped inside.' So immediately, we didn’t waste any time, we parked the truck on the bridge and immediately jumped in action.”

Michael said he knew the situation could be potentially deadly because the water was rushing and rising quickly.

The brothers said they used a broken flashlight to break out the windows of the minivan.

“We managed to get the first one out and down on the roof of the van to the person that was standing on the bridge,"  Wesley Shook said. "And we try to get the second dog out, but it bit both of us. It was not having it.”

That is when Michael noticed that the van was beginning to sink into the water.

“Within probably 45 seconds the water had come to the back of the van and hit my hips and that’s when I realized, 'Look, we got to get the lady out. The dogs are our last resort. We have to get her out first and then go back for the dogs,'" Michael said.

Within seconds the van disappeared as it sank below the water with the third dog still inside.

“Somebody said the other dog was in there and she just said it was too late,'” Wesley remembered.

A neighbor captured video of the minivan being pulled from the creek bed Friday morning.

Old Hermitage Homeowners Association President Rai Beasley praised the brothers for their bravery.

“I thought what you guys did, was one of the most selfless acts that I’ve ever seen in my life and I just can’t thank you enough,” Beasley said.

Two days after their brave deed, the Shook brothers said that if they had to do it over again they would have gone back to save the third dog.

“I would have jeopardized my life to go back over the bridge and get that third dog,” Michael said.

“My condolences go out to her for the loss of the dog," Wesley added.

Beasley said he has reached out to Henrico's Chief of Police in hopes of getting the brothers recognized for their heroism.

Additionally, Beasley said he has notified the county about the flash flooding with the hope that something can be done to alleviate the problem in the neighborhood.