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911 call released in Spanish Fork river crash; toddler upgraded to fair condition

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SPANISH FORK — Lily, an 18-month-old toddler who was rescued from a car crash that killed her mother over the weekend, remained hospitalized Tuesday but was upgraded to fair condition.

"She's improving," said Primary Children's Hospital spokeswoman Bonnie Midget.

Lynn Jennifer "Jenny" Groesbeck, 25, was driving home to Springville from Salem on Friday night when her car went off the road where Arrowhead Trail connects with Main Street. The car landed on its hood in the Spanish Fork River. Because of its position under the bridge and the lack of light, it was nearly impossible to see the car from the road.

It wasn't until 14 hours later, about 12:20 p.m. Saturday, when a fisherman walking by the area spotted the vehicle.

On Tuesday, Utah Valley Dispatch released the two short emergency calls they received from the angler. The man, whose name was redacted from police recordings, first called a non-emergency police line at 12:22 p.m.

"Are you guys aware there's a car in the river on the south end of Spanish Fork, Main Street, over the bridge?" he asked in a relatively calm voice. "I didn't see anybody when I came in here and I can't see in the car.

But four minutes later, after the man had walked closer to the vehicle, he called back. This time calling 911 directly.

"There's a car in the river. It's upside down off of Main Street and there is a person inside," he said in a slightly more excited voice. "I can see a hand."

Are you guys aware there's a car in the river on the south end of Spanish Fork, Main Street, over the bridge? I didn't see anybody when I came in here and I can't see in the car.

–911 caller

Less than two minutes later the sounds of sirens pulling up to the scene can be heard on the recorded call.

What happened next was nothing short of a miracle as nearly a half-dozen Spanish Fork police officers and firefighters — many of whom recall hearing a distinct, mysterious voice calling for "help" — pushed the car onto its side and discovered Lily, Groesbeck's daughter, upside down and still strapped in her car seat where investigators believe she had been for 14 hours.

There were faint signs of life in Lily and she was rushed to a local hospital and then by helicopter to Primary Children's Hospital in critical condition.

On Monday, Lily's aunt, Jill Sanderson, updated followers on the girl's GoFundMe site saying she was improving, smiling and singing with family members. "We're blown away by Lily's progress and so grateful to her rescuers," she wrote.

The investigation into the cause of the accident continued Tuesday.

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Pat Reavy


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