FAIRFIELD, Ohio — A frantic effort by a man walking his dog and two boys riding their bikes helped save one child after a pickup truck sank into a pond Monday night. Unfortunately, a father and daughter did not survive.
The Butler County Coroner said 6-year-old Nena Harrison and 35-year-old Morance Harrison died of accidental drowning at the Villages of Wildwood Apartments.
The unidentified dog walker pulled Nena’s 4-year-old brother from the pond and told witnesses he almost succeeded in rescuing Nena.
Donte Lasky and Kai Krumman, who live in the complex, told WCPO they were riding their bikes near the pond when they saw the red pickup sink into the water. They said they saw a man desperately trying to save the others until he went under the water and never came up again.
Donte, 10, and Kai, 13, did what they could do to help. Donte made the first call to 911.
“I was just, like, scared, because that was my first time having to call them,” Donte said Tuesday.
Police first received word of the incident around 7:37 p.m. Monday, according to Fairfield Police Department spokesman Doug Day.
Meanwhile, Kai called his mother, Sarah Haggard. Haggard ran from her apartment to the pond, comforted the rescued boy and asked another neighbor to bring him blankets until help arrived.
“The rescued boy kept saying 'That's my dad!' And just saying that," Donte said.
Kai said the unidentified good Samaritan saw 6-year-old Nena struggling in the water.
“He literally dropped his dog's collar … didn't care about his dog at that time. All he cared about was trying to save the little girl,” Kai said.
The man later told them he almost had her, but she got pulled off his back and back underwater.
“The little girl gets on his back but she's like slipping,” Donte said.
The man left the scene and has not been identified.
Divers would recover both bodies and the pickup hours later.
Fairfield police said Tuesday that there might have been early signs of trouble before the truck hit the water.
Someone called 911 and reported a red truck driving around the old golf course.
“He pulls up to the back of the Pub parking lot, where the kids' park is. He goes over the curb between our dog park and our fitness center, drives down the hill, around the pond," the caller said. "I don't know where he goes after that because I can't see him.”
It's not clear that was the same truck, but the descriptions are similar.
Donte and Kai went back to the pond Tuesday and left flowers at the scene.
Kai's mom said he was “so proud” of the boys.
“I mean, for them to think that fast to call 911 and to get that guy ... “ Haggard said.
This story was originally published by Evan Millward at WCPO.