The seven Aurora police officers who saved the life of a 14-year-old Batavia girl, who nearly drowned after the vehicle in which she was riding crashed into a retention pond at Interstate 88 and Diehl Road last year, were named the co-police officers of the year by the Exchange Club of Aurora on Tuesday.
Special operations investigators Greg Christoffel, Ed Doepel, Nick Gartner, Jeff Hahn, Erik Swastek, Josh Sullivan, and Officer Chris Coronado responded to the March 9, 2013, crash. When they arrived, they found the car upside down and almost totally submerged in the mostly frozen pond, according to a news release issued by the Aurora Police Department. They entered the water, which was neck high in some places, and with assistance from firefighters, pulled the Batavia teenager from the vehicle, the release stated.
The teen, who was underwater for an estimated 25 minutes, required a lengthy hospital stay and physical therapy after the crash. The crash occurred just before 7:30 p.m. when the vehicle, driven by a 20-year-old Aurora woman, left the eastbound I-88 ramp at Diehl Road.
The teen's mother and a second 14-year-old girl were able to escape the vehicle and suffered minor injuries. The driver was killed in the crash.