Chris Etre, center, holding his award, with members of the Grafton Police Department and state Rep. David Muradian (Photo courtesy of

Man Who Saved Teen From Sinking Car Given Sweeney Award For Bravery


BOSTON (CBS) – A man who saved a teenager from a sinking car is this year’s recipient of the Madeline Sweeney Award for Bravery, an honor given annually on September 11 in Boston.

He was nominated for the award by state Senator Michael Moore, Rep. David Muradian, and Grafton Police Chief Normand Crepeau, Jr.

Chris Etre, 49, of Upton, pulled a teenage girl from a car that crashed and started to sink into the Quinsigamond River in Grafton on December 13, 2019.

The teen driver jumped out right before the car went into the river, but his girlfriend was trapped inside. Etre saw the crash, grabbed a wrench from his truck, ran into the freezing water and smashed the back window. He was able to pull the girl out before the car sank completely.

Chris Etre pulled a teenager out of this sinking car on December 13, 2019. (Photo credit: Grafton Police)

“Putting his own life at risk, Chris Etre personified the selfless courage we remember Madeline ‘Amy’ Sweeney for,” Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement announcing the award Friday. “In the face of life-threatening danger, he acted quickly and decisively to bring a stranger to safety and is an inspirational example of her legacy.”

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Sweeney was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, the first plane to leave Logan Airport and crash into one of the World Trade Center towers in lower Manhattan. She called a ground supervisor and relayed information about the hijackers to investigators.

“I’m truly honored to receive such an award in the name of somebody who showed selfless actions herself,” Etre said in a pre-recorded message.


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