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17-year-old crashes vehicle into lake while driving to school in Stark County

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LAWRENCE TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- A teenager driving to school Thursday morning lost control of his vehicle and landed in a lake on all four wheels.

A 17-year-old boy was driving his Chevy Equinox on Erie Avenue just before 8 a.m., while it was snowing. and lost control of the SUV, according to Lawrence Township Police.

He hit the guardrail, causing the SUV to roll once and land in four feet of water in Lake Lucerne.

The already frightening accident caused some confusion because the teenager got a ride home from a passerby before first responders arrived.

A dive team was actually called out after police and fire fighters found the car submerged. Officials removed the vehicle from the water.

“He wasn’t on scene when our units arrived, he’d already gone home,” said Canal Fulton Assistant Fire Chief Ray Green, “Our ambulance went there to check him out and transported him to a local hospital.”

 Green says, the teenager was extremely fortunate that he wasn’t more seriously hurt, and shouldn’t have left the scene of an accident, but he also did several things right that probably saved his life.

“I’m impressed he was able to keep his calm get out like he did,” said Green.

The boy was able to break out a side window, and quickly make it to shore before hypothermia set in.

Assistant Chief Green says, it’s important for all drivers to know how to escape a submerged vehicle, because water pressure will prevent you from opening doors and electronic windows won’t work.

He says, stores sell specific tools that can shatter a window, or even a screwdriver will help.

“You want to do the side windows, because the front and back windshields are laminated and they have a weather strip around them,” said Green, “And on the side windows you want to hit into a lower corner, there’s not as much strength as there is in the center of the window, hit the corner and it’s gonna shatter.”

However,  he says preventing an accident is always the goal so take your time and drive slowly in snow and ice.

The teenager was cited for operation of a vehicle without reasonable control.

Stark County Engineers will also be looking at the area to see if the guardrails need to be replaced or reinforced.

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