Bronx River Parkway flood victim speaks out

Bronx River Parkway flood victim speaks to Eyewitness News.

April 1, 2010 4:20:19 AM PDT
The driver who was pulled from his car after it was swallowed by flood waters on the Bronx River Parkway is speaking out. Riccardo Tedesco drove around a roadblock and right into at least 6 feet of water. And in no time, he realized there was no time to spare.

The 77-year-old Tedesco says it was the scariest day of his life, not knowing if he would make it out alive. The water was up to a 10'1'' clearance sign. He had very little air and a whole lot of water.

Tedesco was trapped.

"I didn't know what to do," he said. "I was scared, when you're ready to die."

Tedesco was on his way to visit friends in the Bronx Tuesday morning. He left his Yonkers home and took his usual route, getting on the Bronx River Parkway.

"I saw a guy make a left turn down the parkway, so I followed him," he said. "There was a very heavy rain. I couldn't see."

Tedesco admits he drove down a barricaded street. But what he didn't know was that the parkway was flooded. By the time he realized, it was too late. The water was up to his neck, and he couldn't open his windows or his doors.

"It was very scary," he said. "Another couple of minutes I would have died...I was calling for help. 'Please help me, please help me,' I start to scream."

Then he saw his first of many angels.

A neighbor who called 911, followed by Westchester and Yonkers police who were forced into the water to rescue him.

"It was ice cold," Tedesco said. "They tied me up and they put me in a basket and pushed me all the way up."

Tedseco is out of the hospital and back home with his wife. He wants to thank everyone who got him home safely.

"They were wonderful people," he said.

Police cited Tedesco for going down a blocked and barricaded road. He says he's not afraid to drive again.

City Cuncilman John Murtagh says the flooding is a constant and dangerous problem. He says he's been asking for federal funding for three years to correct the problem. But so far, he says he has gotten absolutely nothing.