Illinois paramedic dives into lake to save 3-month-old boy

Illinois paramedic dives into lake to save 3-month-old boy

An Illinois paramedic dove into frigid waters to save a drowning 3-month-old boy, one of seven siblings who survived a twisted chain of events that left one person dead in a house fire and a second body recovered from the lake.

Authorities say it all started when a fire broke out at a home owned by Cristy Campbell at approximately 5:15 a.m. on Thursday in Glen Carbon. Six children escaped to a nearby WalMart and to another home in the neighborhood, but an adult perished in the blaze. The person killed has not been identified, but Campbell’s former husband Justin Campbell has not been accounted for.

Cristy Campbell was not in the home when firefighters arrived at the scene, nor was the couple’s youngest child.

Fifteen minutes after the fire started, a driver passing near Silver Lake in Highland, 16 miles away, saw a car heading down a hill toward the water. The motorist called 911.

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Highland paramedic Todd Zobrist dove into the 46-degree water and swam 50 to 75 feet to the SUV, where he found a baby floating in the vehicle. He pulled the baby by the arm to the hood of the SUV, where he began CPR, then swam with the child to shore.

The child is expected to recover after being initially unresponsive and could be released Friday from a hospital in St. Charles, Missouri.

“Whenever anybody in Highland today heard that a paramedic jumped into the water, they knew Todd was the one,” Highland EMS Chief Brian Wilson told “He definitely saved the child’s life and put his own life at risk.”

“Today was a tragic day all the way around because of both scenes,” Madison County Sheriff John Lakin said. “Fortunately, there is something good that can come of this.”

A body was pulled from the lake around 11:15 a.m. Lakin said police are no longer searching for 32-year-old Cristy Campbell.

Cristy Campbell and Justin Campbell, 37, had a volatile relationship, according to court records. Before they were married, Justin Campbell was charged with domestic abuse for allegedly attacking Cristy Campbell, then known as Cristy Brueggemann, by slapping her in the head when she was pregnant. He was sentenced in March 2006 to probation and fined $500.

They got married in November of 2006. She filed for legal separation in September 2010, but the matter was later dismissed.

In 2012, Cristy Campbell obtained an emergency protection order against her husband and filed for divorce, alleging in court papers that he “abuses me on a weekly basis,” including punching and choking her.

“He has told me that I’m a no good wife,” she wrote.

The divorce was granted in February 2013.

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