Fishers parents remember man’s bravery
By Nancy Edwards
Local parents of a woman who nearly drowned 10 years ago have not forgotten the man who saved their daughter’s life.
Jean Starr, 36 at the time, was driving her new Jeep Grand Cherokee home from work when she suddenly suffered a seizure near the intersection of 116th Street and Allisonville Road. Her jeep jumped over a curb and veered into a pond by Conner Farm Apartments, quickly submerging into water.
Meanwhile, Josh Leagre was driving home from school at Ivy Tech when he was startled by Starr’s vehicle, which crossed right across the lane in front of him. Just a few seconds later, he watched in terror as the jeep plunged into water.
“I slammed on my brakes and pulled into the entrance (of the apartment complex), ran down the sidewalk, trying to yell at whoever was in the jeep and trying to keep (Starr’s) attention, but I didn’t get an answer,” he said.
After yelling at nearby customers of Starbucks to call 911, Leagre jumped into the pond and swam over to Starr.
“I remember the windows being up, and I could see her. She looked at me. I asked if there was anyone else in the car, and worried if there was a child in there and she shook head ‘no,’” he said.
Leagre smashed the window, unfastened Starr’s seatbelt and pulled her out the window, then safely to shore.
After police arrived, Mary Ann and Ralph Starr received a phone call from an officer informing them of their daughter’s accident. The Starrs rushed to the scene and spotted Jean, who told her parents that she was OK.
Then, Mary Ann recalled, “the police officer said, ‘Would you like to talk with the young man who saved your daughter’s life?’”
“We hugged and kissed him and told him we loved and appreciated him,” Mary Ann said.
Since then, Leagre and the Starrs have kept in touch on a regular basis. Now 32, Leagre lives in Noblesville and is a married father of three and a lead mechanic at Penske Honda.
“We try to be so grateful and give him little gifts here and there, but it’s never enough,” Mary Ann said. “How do you say ‘thank you’ enough? There’s no way.”
Years later, Leagre still does not view himself as a hero.
“I was doing what I thought was the right thing to do,” he said. “I was doing something I hoped someone would do for me.”
Mary Ann disagrees.
“He says, ‘no, no, anybody would have done this,’” she said. “I don’t think so. I think it takes a person above and beyond to do what he did.”