by The Chicago Times Staff
December 14, 2021
ST. JOHN, IN — A police officer in Indiana saved the lives of two small children when the car they were riding in drove into a retention pond on Sunday.
Just outside St. John, Lake County Sheriff officers were conducting a traffic stop at 11:30 p.m. when, during the stop, a man with an arrest warrant fled the area. A female passenger in the automobile leapt into the driver’s seat and sped away with the driver’s two young daughters in the backseat.
Officer Darrell Shaffer and other St. John police officers assisting Lake County Sheriff officers, pursued the speeding vehicle. Shaffer pursued the automobile down I-80-94 to Kennedy Avenue, where the fleeing vehicle exited. Without warning the driver lost control of the vehicle which veered off the road into a retention pond.
Shaffer, unaware of the vehicle’s occupants, quickly parked his squad car and jumped into action to save those trapped in the vehicle. Shaffer noticed a 3-year-old floating in the rear of the car and proceeded to pull the young child from the car.
Shaffer then noticed an 8-month-old child floating in the car and again proceeded to pull the victim from the vehicle. According to Shaffer, he estimated that the 8-month-old child was under the water for about a minute and a half.
According to medical staff, the children were alert and conscious by the time they were taken to the hospital.
The man and the woman were arrested. St. John police said Lake County Sheriff’s Department continuing its investigation.