Tooele police rescue 12-year-old girl from vehicle submerged in reservoir

Settlement Canyon Reservoir. Photo: Settlement Canyon Irrigation Co.

TOOELE, Utah, June 3, 2023 (Gephardt Daily) — Tooele police rescued a 12-year-old girl trapped inside a vehicle that drove into a reservoir and sank Saturday afternoon.

Two officers checking water levels at Settlement Canyon Reservoir south of Tooele were alerted about 2:10 p.m. to a vehicle with a child inside actively sinking into the reservoir, Tooele City Police Cpl. Colbey Bentley said.

Witnesses told police the vehicle drove down a 15- to 20-foot embankment and into the water and began sinking, Bentley told Gephardt Daily.

A 43-year-old woman and a male child were able to get out of the vehicle, but a 12-year-old girl remained inside the sinking vehicle, he said.

The vehicle was completely submerged when officers arrived, but witnesses were able to show them where it had gone down.

“The two officers jumped in and were able to get to the submerged vehicle,” Bentley said. “They tried several different avenues of gaining access to the vehicle — trying to open the doors, breaking the windows — but because it was completely submerged, they didn’t have any luck getting it open. At that point, one of the officers was able to shoot one of the windows.”

The officer was able to retrieve the girl, who was unconscious and not breathing when brought to shore, Bentley said.

Officers immediately began CPR, and the girl was breathing but still unconscious when paramedics arrived, he said. She was taken to a local hospital before being transported to a Salt Lake-area hospital, where she was in stable condition.

Bentley said the officers being at the reservoir at the time the vehicle went in likely saved the girl’s life.

“If they’re not up there, I don’t think there’s much of a chance that she lives,” he said.

Witnesses told police the car was traveling fairly slowly when it went into the reservoir. The cause of the crash remains under investigation, Bentley said.


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