LAWRENCE, Ind. (January 31, 2016) – A Lawrence police officer is being credited for saving a 14-year-old boy's life after he fell into a semi-frozen pond chasing a softball.
“I have a child of my own," Lawrence Police Officer Dustin VanTreese said. "And immediately, I mean absolutely immediately, I was envisioning my child that was out here in the water, and I just came here as fast as I could."
VanTreese was the first person to the scene at the Parkwood Mobile Home Community in Lawrence Saturday just after 2 p.m.
“I could see the kid's head above water," he said. "And I was going into the water before I even knew what happened.”
VanTreese took off some of his gear and then rushed into the pond.
“As a parent, I know I would want to keep my child as safe as possible, get them to safety as fast as possible, and that’s what I did," VanTreese said. “Luckily by the grace of God I was just in the right place at the right time.”
Lawrence Police Department Captain Gary Woodruff said this case should serve as a warning to everyone about the dangers of walking on ice.
“It’s a good reminder for everyone about the dangers of going out on a pond that seems safe," Woodruff said. "It’s not worth your life.”
He said there are always better options than walking out onto a lake or a pond. "Standing on the shore and throwing something in to retrieve an item that’s floating on top of the water is a much safer way to retrieve something as opposed to going into the pond," Woodruff said.
The 14-year-old boy is safe and back at home after a brief stint at Riley Hospital.