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Passer-by shoots out window, rescues children from upside-down car in icy Utah river

Former police officer Chris Willden didn't hesitate when he realized children were trapped in an upside down car in an icy Utah river. He pulled his handgun, pushed it up against the submerged windows and shot out the glass.

Then he reached inside.

"I was trying to grab arms, but I couldn't feel anything," Willden said. "I'm thinking ... what are we going to do?'"

Jim Urquhart / AP

From left, Kenya Wildman, Mia Andersen and Baylor Andersen pose for a photo Monday, Jan. 2, 2011 in Logan, Utah. The girls were rescued from an overturned car that was submerged in an icy river outside Logan, Utah, on Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011.

"I remember thinking to myself, 'You're going to see some dead kids, get ready.' I've got three of my own and it was going to be (an awful) start to the New Year," he added.

Willden said he tried unsuccessfully to open windows and doors. He then used his firearm just as he had done in training for his current job as a bodyguard and Department of Defense contractor.  Read the full story.

Chris Willden / AP

A car rests in the Logan River in Utah Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011, after it was flipped upright by rescuers who saved three children trapped inside. The car had plunged off an embankment into the river and Willden shot out the car's window with a handgun and cut a seat belt to help free the children after the accident.

AP

Chris Willden in 2006.