illinois Digital News

Paving Company Employees Help Rescue Girls In Storm Drain


CRYSTAL LAKE, IL — The quick actions by two employees of a mother whose daughter got lost in a storm drain system in Crystal Lake Tuesday helped bring the girl and her friend to safety.

The incident was reported at about 5 p.m. when the Crystal Lake Fire Rescue Department and Crystal Lake Police Department were called to a retention pond near Target in Crystal Lake.

The two girls reportedly went into a storm drain, entering through a 12- to 15-inch gap that runs along the bottoms of the grate. Two of their friends remained outside the grate and called for help after their friends had been underground for 20 minutes.

They reached the boyfriend of one of the girls’ mothers, Danielle Leschuk, who then got ahold of Leschuk and called 911. Leschuk works at Peterson Paving and her boss, Gary Peterson, shut down the office and had everyone head over to the area to help find the girls, according to the article.

Because of his work for a paving company, Peterson knew where the drainage pipes led and he and a co-worker, Zach Ciochon, used pick axes to pry open manhole covers and then would yell for the girls, Peterson told the Northwest Herald. After several attempts, they heard voices yell back and the girls were able to crawl toward the light of their flashlights before Ciochon and Peterson pulled them out.

Fire officials estimate the girls wandered 850 feet from where they entered and where they were rescued through a manhole opening, according to fire district officials.

The girls were in the storm drain for more than an hour, Leschuk told the Northwest Herald.

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