Amid Tragic Chain of Events, a Heroic Rescue Takes Place

Todd Zobrist saved infant from submerged SUV
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 17, 2017 6:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – A fast-acting paramedic dove into the frigid waters of an Illinois lake where an SUV was submerged Thursday and found an infant floating inside, then administered CPR while on the hood and swam the child to shore, authorities say. The infant was one of seven siblings who survived a tragic chain of events that left two people dead, the AP reports. It began at 5:15am in Glen Carbon, when fire broke out at a home owned by Cristy Lynn Campbell. An adult died in the fire, but six children, siblings up to age 14, escaped. Sheriff John Lakin says the person killed hasn't been IDed, but Campbell's ex-husband and the father of the kids, Justin Campbell, hasn't been accounted for. Some of the kids ran to a nearby Walmart, others to a nearby home. The children at the Walmart asked a worker to call 911, Lakin says.

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Cristy Campbell wasn't in the home when firefighters arrived, nor was the couple's seventh child, a 3-month-old boy. At 5:31am, a motorist near Highland's Silver Lake saw a car heading down a hill toward the water and called 911, Lakin notes. Highland paramedic Todd Zobrist arrived quickly, jumped into the 46-degree water, and swam 50 to 75 feet to the SUV, where he found a baby floating in the car. The child, initially unresponsive, is expected to recover, Lakin says. A body was pulled from the lake around 11:15am, and while it hasn't been IDed, Lakin says police are no longer searching for Cristy Campbell. Court records show the Campbells had a volatile relationship, including domestic abuse charges and a protective order against Justin Campbell. Authorities say the children are with Illinois authorities and will be placed with relatives. (Read more Illinois stories.)

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