D211 Post: Conant Baseball Coach and Wife Save Driver from Roll-over Crash
James B. Conant High School Math Department Chair and Baseball Coach Derek Fivelson spent part of his summer coaching his son’s youth baseball team. While traveling with his family to a state tournament in Freeport on August 3, Fivelson witnessed an automobile crash into a retention pond near the intersection of I-90 and Illinois Route 47 in Huntley, Ill.
“Suddenly getting to a baseball game in Freeport didn’t seem so important,” he said.
Fivelson pulled his car over and ran to the retention pond where the car had landed upside down. He, and a small team of strangers, plunged into the murky water in an attempt to pull any occupants of the vehicle to safety. He said the group managed to pull the driver from the vehicle, and at that point, the driver was not breathing. The group carried her to the shore where Fivelson’s wife, Molly, began performing CPR.
Fivelson said while his wife was performing CPR, he and the others went back into the water in fear that there were other occupants in the car. After searching, it was discovered that the driver was the only person in the vehicle.
Molly’s work performing CPR ultimately aided in reviving the driver. Derek said Molly initially learned CPR while working as a lifeguard in high school.
“It just goes to show that you never know when you’re going to need something you learned in high school,” Derek said. “She learned CPR 20 years ago, and never had to use it until that day.”
He added that he stopped to help because he felt it was the right thing to do. He said that if there was one lesson for his students, it was about the determination of strangers.
“We were simply a bunch of strangers from a number of backgrounds working together with one goal, to keep this woman alive,” he said.
The driver of the vehicle is home from the hospital, and she expected to make a full recovery. Derek and Molly were honored by the High School District 211 Board of Education for their actions at its meeting on August 16.