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Police, Firefighters To Be Honored For Saving Teen

Only a chain-link fence and a few yards of grass separate this retention pond from an exit ramp from Interstate 88. A young mother died and a 14-year-old girl nearly drowned when a car plunged into the pond, and the girl's father wants a guardrail installed to avoid such accidents in the future. (Credit: CBS)

Only a chain-link fence and a few yards of grass separate this retention pond from an exit ramp from Interstate 88. A young mother died and a 14-year-old girl nearly drowned when a car plunged into the pond, and the girl’s father wants a guardrail installed to avoid such accidents in the future. (Credit: CBS)

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AURORA, Ill. (STMW) – The Aurora Police Department will honor seven Aurora police officers who, along with six Aurora firefighters, saved the life of 14-year-old Annie Prosser, who nearly drowned on March 9 after the vehicle in which she was riding crashed into a retention pond.

On Tuesday, the officers will receive Medals of Valor, the department’s highest honor, which recognizes officers who demonstrate outstanding acts of bravery and heroism performed in the line of duty which puts their own lives at extreme personal risk. The firefighters will also be recognized.

Getting medals will be Special Operations Investigators Greg Christoffel, Ed Doepel, Nick Gartner, Jeff Hahn, Erik Swastek and Josh Sullivan and Officer Chris Coronado.

Firefighters to be recognized include paramedics Brett Svedsen, Dan Ahasic, Dan Kveton, Tom Contreras and Jerry White and diver Lt. Kris Tappendorf.

Only nine Aurora police officers and three civilians have received Medals of Valor since 1994.

The accident occurred on March 9 at just before 7:30 p.m. The vehicle, driven by a 20-year-old Aurora woman, left the eastbound I-88 ramp at Diehl Road. When officers arrived they found the car upside down and almost totally submerged in a mostly-frozen pond. They entered the water, which was neck-high in some places, and with assistance from firefighters, pulled Annie Prosser from the vehicle.

Annie’s mother and a second 14-year-old girl were able to escape the vehicle and suffered minor injuries. The 20-year-old woman driving the car, Emory Sepulveda of Aurora, lost her life as a result of the crash.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)