The four officers who rescued an 18-month-old toddler from the wreck of a submerged car on Sunday said they launched into their heroics when they heard desperate pleas for help coming from a woman inside.
But when the four men used all their strength to right the red Dodge sedan, they found little Lily Groesbeck to be the only passenger left alive in the vehicle.
Her mother, 25-year-old Lynn Jennifer Groesbeck, had passed away the night before when she lost control of the car and could not possibly have called for the men to help save her child.
‘For two nights I’ve laid awake trying to figure out exactly what it could be. All I know is it was there, we all heard it,’ Spanish Fork Police Officer Tyler Beddoes said. ‘It was extra motivation.’
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Lone survivor: 25-year-old Lynn Jennifer Groesbeck (left) and her 18-month-old daughter, Lily (right), were found inside a crashed car in Utah’s Spanish Fork river on Saturday. Groesbeck pictured above in a photo posted to Facebook
Spanish Fork Police Officers Tyler Beddoes, left, and Jared Warner, right, and Spanish Fork City Firefighters Lee Mecham, second from left, and Paul Tomadakis, second from right, answered questions Monday night regarding be the first responders on scene
Tragic: Groesbeck died in the crash, but her baby, Lily, survived, is in stable condition and is improving. She is opening her eyes and doing well, police said
Beddoes said that he and the other three on scene responded to the voice calling for help when they approached the car.
All four officers said they were there to help. But when they flipped the car, the mother was already deceased and Lily was unconscious, he said.
A firefighter jumped into the river and cut the straps, freeing the blond baby girl who was wearing only a flannel onesie and no hat or gloves.
Officers formed a line in the river and handed the cold girl to one another until she was on the shoreline and in emergency workers’ arms. They rushed her to an ambulance and performed CPR, Beddoes said Monday, two days after the crash.
Lily is in stable condition and improving, according to hospital officials. Beddoes, who spoke with the family, said the baby is opening her eyes and doing well.
‘Her improvement is astounding. Right now she’s watching ‘Dora (the Explorer)’ and singing ‘(The) Wheels on the Bus’ with Grandpa. She is smiling and laughing for family members. We’re blown away by Lily’s progress and so grateful to her rescuers,’ Lily’s family said, according to CNN.
Nobody knows exactly how the infant survived hanging upside down for nearly 14 hours in her car seat with no food or water.
As she dangled, icy water rushed just below her head through broken car windows as the Dodge Caliber sat perched on the bank and rocks. The temperatures were near freezing throughout the night and through the morning.
‘It’s heartbreaking. Was she crying most the night?’ said Beddoes, a 30-year-old father of two. ‘It’s a miracle… She was needed for sure elsewhere.’
Car crash: Police believe that Lynn Groesbeck struck a cement barrier on a bridge before landing in the river upside down on Friday
Devastating: A fisherman found car the next day, partially submerged in the river. Groesbeck was found dead in driver’s seat of vehicle, while her baby girl was alive in the back seat, above the frigid river waters
And that voice? Beddoes said he and the three officers talked later and concurred they all heard the same thing. They can’t explain it, but have no doubt they heard it.
‘That’s the part that really sends me for a whirl,’ Beddoes said. ‘I’m not really religious, but that’s what you think of.’
Police believe the accident occurred when the baby’s mother, Lynn Groesbeck, struck a cement barrier on a bridge and careened into the river late Friday in Spanish Fork, about 50 miles south of Salt Lake City.
She was driving to her home in Springville after visiting her parents in Salem, Spanish Fork police Lt. Matt Johnson said.
A fisherman found the crashed car upside down in the river on Saturday at 12.30pm, about 14 hours after the accident occurred around 10.30pm on Friday.
A neighbor in the area reported hearing a loud noise near the bridge Friday night at about 11pm, but couldn’t locate the cause of the sound after checking the area near Provo.
Investigators don’t know what caused the crash, he said. There were no skid