I TEAM exclusive: Maple Heights officers rescue woman stuck in vehicle, filled with icy water

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MAPLE HEIGHTS – Around 10 a.m. Thursday, a frantic woman called 911 saying she just saw  a car on 480 go off the road and down a steep embankment.

“I don’t know where the car went," the caller said.

The car landed in a creek filled with frigid water.

Seconds later the driver was able to call for help.

“I went through the fence, water is coming in my car and I can’t even get out of the car,” the victim said.

It was 17 degrees outside, and Police Captain Todd Hansen says dispatchers could no longer reach the victim and they worried about her safety.

“She had lost contact with her and it was imperative to get to the creek at that point,” Hansen said.

Police body camera video obtained by the I-Team  shows the officers searching the area, trying to find the car.

“We couldn’t find it at first,” said Sgt. Robert Voll, who said officers split up so they could find the car quicker.

When the vehicle was spotted, Hansen, Voll and Officer Derek Jividen went into the waist-deep chilly water to get to the victim.

The car had filled up with water but the officers were able to get her out.

“She just had minor bumps and bruises,” said Cpl. Matthew Rhodes.  “She is very lucky.”

And the city’s police chief says he is extremely proud.

“They did an outstanding job and I am not surprised,” said Chief John Popielarczyk.

FOX 8 I-Team Reporter Peggy Gallek reached out to the victim, Jasmine Stevens-Leonard, by phone and she said she wants to thank the officers for rescuing her, and also for checking on her to make sure she was okay.

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