INDIANAPOLIS — An IMPD officer dove into a retention pond and pulled two teens trapped from inside a submerged car. One of the teenagers died, and the other teen is in critical condition.
It happened on Saturday night off of Frye Road on the city’s southeast side.
Four passengers, all under the age of 18, were in the car when it left the road, hit a tree and plunged into a retention pond.
Two people were able to get out of the car on their own and they were taken to the hospital in good condition.
A 16-year-old girl identified as Ella Mayger by the coroner passed away after she was transported to the hospital. Ella’s mom said her daughter just celebrated her 16th birthday this month. She said her daughter had a beautiful soul, inside and out.
Another 16-year-old was rescued, and he was taken to St. Francis South in critical condition.
Multiple people called 911 about a car that crashed into a retention pond. Officers responded within minutes. Even in murky waters, IMPD officer Jared Allen dove into the water, found Ella in the back seat, and brought her to the surface.
“I just wanted to get out there and get to them. I did not know how long they had already been in the water,” he said. “We did everything we could. I just wish it had a better outcome than it did.”
Officer Allen went back under the water to locate the second teenager who was still in the car. The Indianapolis Fire Department said he found the young man nine minutes after someone reported the car was fully submerged.
Officer Allen is a three-year veteran of IMPD. He told firefighters he was comfortable in the water as he swam competitively in college.
“It is what most of us expect of the officers around us and what the community expects of us,” said Officer Allen. “There was not much second thought about it.”
According to IFD divers, the car was wheels down in more than 10 feet of water and about 35 feet off the shore. Visibility was poor. Other IMPD officers assisted with the water rescue but did not go subsurface.
Witnesses told firefighters that they saw the car going fast when for some unknown reason, it left the road and hit the tree and went into the pond. First responders said it is unclear whether the wet pavement or the curve in the road contributed to the cause of the accident. The crash is still under investigation.
More than 6,000 people have signed a petition online for a guardrail to be placed on this road so it does not happen again.
Wesley Henthorn lives on the pond and said he knew most of the teenagers in the car. He is supporting the petition and hopes it can be placed there soon. He said he can remember at least five crashes in that area.
“I think it is important we learn from this and try to change,” he said. “It is sad we didn’t do anything about it at the beginning when we could of and added the guardrails for extra safety.”