Steven W. Laidacker saved Annamaria Rigolio and Jill S. Polakowski from drowning, Westport, Ontario, August 19, 1995. Ms. Rigolio, 18, and Ms. Polakowski, 19, were among 11 occupants of a van that, failing to negotiate a curve in the highway, rolled down an embankment, entered Wolfe Lake, and sank, settling against a boulder on the submerged embankment. The driver and most of the other occupants of the vehicle escaped through broken windows, but Ms. Polakowski, who lost consciousness, and Ms. Rigolio remained inside. Driving ahead of the van, Laidacker, 36, behavioral consultant, was alerted to the accident and responded to the scene. He entered the lake and swam to the van, which was fully submerged in water eight feet deep. With a rock, Laidacker broke a window on the driver’s side of the van, providing egress for Ms. Rigolio, whom he aided to wadable water. Learning that Ms. Polakowski and another woman were unaccounted for, Laidacker returned to the van and, groping repeatedly through a broken window, brushed against Ms. Polakowski. He removed her from the van, surfaced with her, then towed her to the bank, where she was revived. Another man rescued the other victim. Ms. Rigolio and Ms. Polakowski both required hospital treatment for their injuries, from which they recovered. Laidacker also was treated at the hospital, for a partially severed tendon in a finger and other cuts, some requiring sutures, and he too recovered.
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