The seven Aurora Police officers who saved the life of Annie Prosser, a teenager who nearly drowned in 2013 after the vehicle in which she was riding crashed into an ice-covered retention pond, will be honored with the U.S. Marshals Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award.
Acting Director of the U.S. Marshals Office David Harlow, the Aurora Police officers, Annie Porsser and her family, Aurora Chief of Police Greg Thomas and other dignitaries will speak at a formal ceremony and/or be available for media interviews after the event. The event takes place at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015, in the first-floor community room of the Aurora Police Department, 1200 E. Indian Trail Road.
Award recipients include Special Operations investigators Greg Christoffel, Ed Doepel, Nick Gartner, Jeff Hahn, Erik Swastek and Josh Sullivan, and Officer Chris Coronado
The accident occurred just after 7:30 p.m., March 9, 2013. 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 the mostly-frozen pond. They entered the water, which was neck-high in some places, and with assistance from Aurora firefighters, pulled 14-year-old Annie Prosser from the vehicle.
Prosser’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 tragically lost her life as a result of the crash.
SOURCE: Aurora Police Department press release
A Message from Dominick Stokes, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association
(FLEOA) Chapter 20 President
Irene Affatati tried in vain to open the vehicle doors to free the Annie Prosser and Emory Diaz-Sepulvida. Several members of the Aurora Police Department (APD) gang unit as well as a uniformed officer were some of the first responders. Said officers were advised by Annie’s mother that occupants were still trapped in the vehicle. Immediately and without concern for their physical safety, these officers ran across the fractured ice covered pond and jumped into the chest-high frigged water. The officers made numerous attempts to lift the vehicle or break windows to free the trapped occupants. Their selfless efforts risked their own entrapment under the ice as well as hypothermia from the frigid air and water temperatures. During their efforts the police officers were repeatedly ordered by the Aurora Fire Department out of the water for their own safety.
Against the orders of the fire department personnel, these APD officers made numerous trips in and out of the icy water to get tools and ropes from the shore in an attempt to extract the occupants from the submerged vehicle. After 25 minutes of intensely heroic efforts in freezing conditions, APD officer was able to use a full size bolt cutter to break the ice surrounding the car.
In what was later described as a super human effort, this officer from his position in chest high water drove the bolt from over his head into the 6 inch thick ice finally breaking off large chunks. Once a large enough hole was chopped out, other APD officers were able to open the vehicle’s door. An Aurora Fire Department diver was then able to retrieve the lifeless body of Annie Prosser from the vehicles rear seat and hand her off to a waiting APD Officer who pulled her from the freezing water and began CPR (at this point the Annie had been submerged for almost 30 minutes).
The officers continued CPR across the pond and up a hill until they reached waiting paramedics and an ambulance. Annie was transported to Mercy Hospital and later life-flighted to Lutheran General Hospital where she was on life support for over a week. After three weeks of hospitalization Annie Prosser is now home receiving outpatient therapy. As a result of these Police officers’ selfless and heroic actions, the child Annie Prosser is alive and at home recovering from her injuries. If it were not for their actions it is unlikely that she would have survived this accident.