ST. JOHN, Ind. — A police officer from the Lake County town of St. John is being called a hero for saving two girls from a car that was submerged in a retention pond.
The rescue happened Sunday after the girls’ mother, who was driving, led police on a chase from St. John to Highland, reports Fox 32 in Chicago.
Moments after the car went into the retention pond off of the Kennedy Ave. exit ramp on I-80/I-94, Officer Darrell Shaffer got out of his squad car and went into the chest-deep water.
Shaffer rescued a three-year-old girl and an 8-month-old girl from the backseat.
“I saw the 3-year-old floating in the back and I didn’t know how much time I had to get her out,” Shaffer said in a press conference Monday.
He got the 3-year-old out through a window and then went back for the baby.
“I still couldn’t see the baby,” Shaffer said. “I reached in the water and I felt the leg and then I pulled her upside down out of the water. She was submerged for a minute and a half. I didn’t know how much time I had ’til the car started to sink.”
Shaffer was able to rescue the baby before the car sank.
Police say the girls’ mother drove away during an earlier traffic stop in which a male passenger got out of the car and ran. The man had a warrant out for his arrest.
The mother and the man, who later ended up in the retention pond, were both arrested.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Department has not said who the man and woman are or why the man was wanted. Both are being held in the Lake County Jail.
Both children were conscious when taken from the scene by ambulance.