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Woodford Times - Peoria, IL
  • Fondulac Township workers discover woman in overturned vehicle in creek

  • Fondulac Township employees Roy Meyers and Dick Gordon finished their work a little early at Fondulac Cemetery Sept. 2, so they decided to get a head start on the next day’s work and start mowing along Veterans Road.
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  • Fondulac Township employees Roy Meyers and Dick Gordon finished their work a little early at Fondulac Cemetery Sept. 2, so they decided to get a head start on the next day’s work and start mowing along Veterans Road.
    Meyers said as he began to mow along the side of the road where there is a drop off, he always looks down at Farm Creek for any tires or old TVs people dump that they need to pick up. He didn’t expect to see a vehicle. Meyers yelled to Gordon, who went down the slope to an overturned truck. Inside the vehicle, still strapped in upside down was a woman.
    Meyers said they called Paul Whittington, the road commissioner, and 911.
    I could see car tires and I saw a truck over on its side. I knew my friend Dick had a cellphone and I don’t. I showed him,” Meyers said.
    “It’s disturbing in a way when you see this because there was no movement coming from the vehicle. We didn’t know if someone was hurt or someone was deceased.”
    After Gordon reached the vehicle, Meyers yelled down to him to ask if anyone was inside. 
    “He saw her feet and knees. She heard me yelling down to him and started to talk,” Meyers said.
    Gordon said he was pretty surprised to find someone in the vehicle.
    “I didn’t know anybody was in there until I looked in the window. She heard me and the other guy I was working with talking and she started talking to us,” he said. “She said she was in the creek at 7 o’clock and we spotted her about 11. She just said she was taking her kids to school. I couldn’t even see her. I could only see her feet.”
    Gordon stood in the water talking to the woman while Meyers went to the top of the hill to wait for the East Peoria Police and Fire departments to arrive.
    Fondulac Township Road Commissoner Paul Whittington said he was just down the road when he received the call about the vehicle in the creek.
    “I got there before fire and rescue got there. I told them to just keep her comforted and I directed fire and rescue,” he said. “The creek is only about a foot deep right now because we haven’t had any big torrential rains, but being in the creek for that length of time, the hyperthermia, I am sure it was scary for her.”
    Page 2 of 2 - East Peoria Assistant Fire Chief John Knapp said they had to use extraction equipment to get the vehicle’s door open.
    Knapp said it was a challenge because the vehicle was down a 30-foot rocky slope in the 24500 block of Veterans Road. It took rescue works about 15 minutes to get the vehicle’s door open and another 15 minutes to get the victim up the hill. Rescue workers had to make a trail about 20 yards away from the vehicle to get the woman up the hill.
    “Unfortunately, it was on a spot of road that’s not traveled much. Where she went down in the ravine you didn’t have a good vantage point to see the vehicle. Fortunately, the guys were mowing today,” Knapp said.
    The 42-year-old female driver had minor injuries, Knapp said.
    “The biggest concern we had for her was being down in the creek and cold water, believe it or not, since it’s 90 degrees out,” Knapp said.
    The woman, whose name was not provided by Knapp, was transported to OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.
    “It was a very successful call. It could been very dire circumstances. It was very fortunate folks were mowing today,” Knapp said.
    Meyers echoed that fact.
    “We mowed the cemetery today. Usually it’s about 11:30 (a.m.) when we’re done with the cemetery. We got done at 10 after 10 so we decided to go down there and get ahead on the extra work,” he said. “I’m just happy we were able to find her and help.”
    The Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department is handling the investigation.
     
     
     
     

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