In 2005, Officer Coyle was riding with his father across the Causeway when their vehicle suffered a flat. An impaired driver would end up rear-ending their vehicle. While Christian survived the accident, his father, unfortunately, did not.
The loss of life would prove to be a major catalyst in Coyle’s life and the reason while he chose to become a police officer.
On Tuesday, May 14th, Officer Coyle was headed to the southshore at approximately 6 a.m. when a call came in about a vehicle in the water – less than half a mile from where his father was killed.
According to police, a man, who was traveling with a woman and their dog, was looking at his phone’s Google Map app when the dog somehow managed to cause the accident. The man lost control of the vehicle and struck the right side of the span before careening to the left side and then flying into the water.
Coyle ended being the second officer on the scene. He said the man, woman, and dog had been in the water for about 10 minutes before he arrived.
The officer noted that the woman visibly shake and so he did the best he could to take her mind off the situation.
“The first thought was that I had to get the people out of the water,” he said. “I didn’t know if the current was going to take them or if they were injured. I knew if I went down there, if there was something wrong with them, I could at least keep them above the water.”
Coyle sprang into action with team member Colt Bruhl. They used a rope ladder to climb down into the cold waters of Lake Pontchartrain, where Coyle was able to safely secure the man, woman, and dog.
Within a few minutes, emergency responders were able to lower a basket into the water and Coyle helped the 32-year-old woman enter the basket along with her dog. The man was able to climb up the ladder on his own.
The incident brought to mind memories of the accident that took his father’s life but reminded him too of why he had gotten into law enforcement. “I wanted to come here and make sure it didn’t happen to someone else,” he said. “Today was a good example. Exactly why I got into law enforcement.”
He said that some people that helped in his car crash are still on the force.
“It’s a nice thing to work here with the same people that worked my dad’s accident.”
Since the event, he was been treated as a hero, but said he is no more of a hero than anyone else involved in the rescue.
The team at Cardone Law Firm would like to commend Officer Coyle as well all the other brave police officers and emergency responders involved in helping prevent this incident from turning into a tragedy. We’d also like to remind all of our fellow community members to please be extra cautious while traveling throughout the city, especially along the Causeway. Your safety should be your top priority so put down that cell phone!