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Good Samaritans honored for rescuing woman in Huntley retention pond

11 Good Samaritans were honored on Wednesday for helping save a woman who rolled her car over into a retention pond off of Interstate 90 in Huntley on August 3.

Illinois State Police officials recognized a group of 11 people who helped saved Libertyville resident Joanna C. Girmscheid.

Girmscheid was driving on Interstate 90 westbound when she lost control of her car as she was exiting on the Route 47 southbound ramp. Her car rolled over and she was trapped in the submerged vehicle, which was in a retention pond.

Image from the traffic camera video of the rescue, which shows bystanders performing CPR on the woman.

A group of Good Samaritans witnessed the crash and rushed to her aid. A traffic camera caught the entire incident, which shows several people running into the pond and pulling Girmscheid, who was unconscious, from the car.

The bystanders then began performing CPR on Girmscheid until paramedics arrived. She was transported to Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin.

Photo by Alex Vucha.

“Everyone standing behind me is the true definition of a hero. What happened to me could have ended very tragically, it could have ended in a funeral, and instead it ended in a celebration and my life will continue because of these people,” Girmscheid said on Wednesday.

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“They were there. They saved my life. All of these people behind me saved my life,” Girmscheid said as she cried.

The following Good Samaritans were recognized:

  • Derek A. Fivelson, of Gilberts
  • Molly J. Fivelson, of Gilberts
  • Jesus T. Flores, of Round Lake
  • Patrick K. Gaughan, of Marengo
  • Frankie R. Gonzalez, of Sandwich
  • Ismael Gutierrez, of Aurora
  • Donald J. Hataway, of Machesney Park
  • Corporal Nathan P. Jennings (Illinois Army National Guard) of Machesney Park
  • Nicholas B. Mason, of Sycamore
  • Evelyn Pagan, of Hampshire
  • Matthew J. Worden, of Belvidere

Each person received a commendation letter from the Illinois State Police for their efforts in saving Girmscheid.


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