Legislature recognizes teens for saving life of man who drove into lake

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 June 2016 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Orleans County legislators Lynne Johnson and John DeFillips, left, present “Special Recognition Awards” to local teen-agers for saving the life of a man on May 26 who drove into Lake Ontario at Golden Hill State Park in Barker.

The teens include, from left: Alex Plummer, Josh Tombari and Hayden London (as well as Matt Scroger, not pictured). They were invited to Wednesday’s Orleans County Legislature meeting. They are joined by Lt. Patrick Rindsleisch of the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department, second from right, and Orleans County Sheriff Randy Bower.

The teens went fishing at Golden State Park in Barker on Thursday and likely saved the life of a man who drove into the lake. They boys were fishing by the inlet at the state park. They heard an engine roar and then a big splash in the water.

They ran to the lake and saw a green van pointed down in the water. The front was submerged. Another man was standing near the shore and told the teens a man was inside the van.

London and Plummer each grabbed big rocks. London took off his shirt and dove in the water. He saw a man who appeared to be elderly inside, hitting at the window trying to get out.

London smashed the driver’s window with a rock. Water came rushing inside the van, London told the Orleans Hub on May 27, a day after the rescue. London put his shirt on the window, to protect the man from the broken glass. London and Plummer then pulled the man out of the van.

Hayden London, right, accepts the “Special Recognition Award” from Legislator John DeFilipps.

Rindsleisch said the man is likely doing well today because there hasn’t been any reports of injuries. He couldn’t provide more information because of confidentiality laws. But he did say the boys deserve praise for their actions on May 26.

Legislators called London, a junior at Lyndonville, “an extraordinary human being” for his selfless actions after a man had driven into the lake.

“Your quick thought and immediate action, with a rock in your hand, saved this life,” legislators said in the award for London. “By going above and beyond and risking your own life to save another, the Orleans County Legislature has a renewed sense that people are willing to help others in times of need. This will forever be remembered and extremely appreciated.”

“The Orleans County Legislature does hereby commend you for your heroism and is proud and grateful that you are a citizen of Orleans County.”

Sheriff Bower also presented the boys with T-shirts with a message about the importance of forward-thinking.

Bower, a former youth coach, said he always preached to his players to be prepared and to be thinking ahead.

“We applaud you for what you did,” Bower told the teens.