Bystanders jump into Girard Lake to pull mom, 5 children from van

The minivan with a mother and five children inside slid off of Niles-Vienna Road in Vienna Township Tuesday morning

Crews are working to get a vehicle out of the water that crashed into Girard Lake.


VIENNA TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – Good Samaritans are receiving a lot of credit after police say they rescued a Burghill woman and her five young children from a van that crashed into the upper Girard Lake Tuesday morning.

“A witness saw everything that happened and said…just with the road conditions, the way they are, it just started to slide off the road,”¬†said Vienna Township Police Chief Bob Ludt.

Michael Kelly was on the second pass of his plow route on Niles-Vienna Road around 8 a.m. when he came across a few stopped vehicles. He got out to see what was going on.

That’s when he saw a van upside down in the lake and told his dispatch center to call for help.

“I ran back and there was already a gentleman standing on the vehicle and he said, ‘Here, grab this,'” Kelly said. “It was a young child so I grabbed that and handed it to the lady on top of the hill.”

Kelly and four other people helped all five children — ranging in age from 6 months to 6 years old — and their mother to safety.

“They all ran, God bless them, and pulled everyone out so all the passengers were out when we got there,” Ludt said.

Witnesses said the children appeared to be okay, but were wet and freezing. Kelly put one of the kids in his truck to get her out of the cold.

“I helped her into the vehicle, put her in my jacket so she could try to stay warm because they were a little bit wet and damp…plus it was 20 degrees outside,” Kelly said.

The crash remains under investigation but officers are applauding those bystanders who jumped in to help.

“Thank God as they were going by, they knew enough to stop,” Ludt said.

Kelly called it “a good overall group effort.”

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