Man crawls into sunken car, saves baby trapped in car seat

The SUV from which the infant was rescued rests upside down in water alongside Route 6 Monday in Kossuth Township, Maine.Associated Press
The SUV from which the infant was rescued rests upside down in water alongside Route 6 Monday in Kossuth Township, Maine.
Associated Press
By Patrick Whittle
Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine — A Maine logger helped save an infant from drowning when he crawled into a car that was upside-down in water and used a knife to cut the straps off her car seat and pull her out, police said.

The baby wasn’t breathing and another bystander performed CPR, reviving the girl, police said.

Leo Moody, 44, of Kingman, was driving home from work Monday when he saw a flipped SUV in a culvert, about 175 miles northeast of Portland. Moody said he called 911 and rushed to the vehicle.

Moody said one of the SUV’s passengers told him her baby was in the back seat, and he swam to the vehicle and cut through seatbelts to free the child seat. He said he then took the 3-month-old to the banks of the culvert and handed the baby and seat to another passer-by, Wade Shorey of Greenbush. Shorey, 32, performed CPR on the child.

Moody said it was cold and his hands were chilled to the point where he couldn’t feel them while he was cutting the straps, and he “kept telling myself, don’t drop the knife.” He said he always carries the knife — usually for peeling an apple or whittling piece of alder.

“They come in handy, I guess. Monday night really proved it,” Moody said.

Police confirmed that Moody crawled into the SUV and freed the baby and that Shorey performed CPR. The infant was submerged for a short time and initially was not breathing and was unresponsive, police said.

After being resuscitated, the girl was crying and alert. She was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor for observation, police said.

Shorey, a forester, said he took a refresher course in CPR this past spring. He said resuscitating the baby took about one or two minutes.

“He passed the car seat to me and said, ‘Take it,’” Shorey said. “I got the baby out of the car seat and started doing CPR.”

The accident happened when Stephen McGouldrick lost control of his SUV on an icy stretch of Route 6 and rolled the vehicle down an embankment into 2 1/2 feet of water, police said.

McGouldrick and two other passengers suffered minor injuries and were treated and released from a hospital.