Officer who went into lake for water rescue lost his father in Causeway crash in 2005

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METAIRIE -- Officer Christian Coyle says it was his opportunity to give back this morning when he went into Lake Pontchartrain for a water rescue.

At a little after 6:00 this morning, Coyle and other bridge officers as well as Saint Tammany Sheriff's deputies responded to a crash at the 18.3 mile marker.  A pickup was on the southbound span when it left the bridge and landed in the lake.

Coyle didn't hesitate to climb down one of the department's rope ladders and get into the water.  He helped rescue a man and woman as well as their dog.

The rescue was personal for Coyle.  In 2005, he was the one who needed help on the bridge.

"My dad was killed by a drunk driver in 2005.  We got a flat tire and the guy ran into the back of us," Coyle told WGNO News.  "Somebody actually pulled me out of the car."

Coyle started his law enforcement career in Saint Charles Parish.  After three years there, and regular calls to the Causeway Police Department to check for openings on the force, he made the move.

When Coyle's father was killed, there was no water rescue needed.  But whether it was on the bridge or below in the lake, he was ready to help save lives.

"We stayed on the bridge, but the car caught fire.  And he (Coyle's father) was trapped in there. He didn't make it," the officer recalled.  "You know, I feel like this morning, I was able to give back. Somebody did it for me, so I was able to return the favor."

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