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CANTON — Stark County Sheriff George Maier waded into nearly waist-deep water to rescue two boys from a car that rolled into the West Branch of Nimishillen Creek.
He was driving Thursday morning by Stadium Park toward Canton on Fulton Road NW, turning left onto a ramp to U.S. Route 62, when a semitrailer driver alerted him to the danger.
“I overheard a semi truck horn honking continuously, and I looked ahead and I saw this vehicle rolling across Fulton Road backwards,” Maier said.
Canton police also responded about 10:50 a.m. to the park entrance south of Fulton Road NW. Canton police Lt. Lisa Broucker said the five-speed car rolled from Circle K into the creek with a 3-year-old boy and a 1-year-old boy in the back seat.
“It was, we believe, just mechanical failure,” she said.
The owner told police the 2010 Subaru Impreza had been parked, was not running and did not have a key in the ignition, according to a Canton police report.
Maier said a few people chased the driverless sedan, which crossed the road in “pretty heavy traffic.” When it stopped in the water about 5 feet from the bank, they tried to break windows and enter the apparently locked front door.
The two boys were in car seats, Maier said. He got in the water, opened the unlocked back door and handed the first boy to Canton police.
“And then I crawled into the car and removed the second child, and carried him up onto the bank,” Maier said. “The mother had been apparently outside of the car, and the car bumped out of gear and rolled across the street.”
Canton police officer Jeff Hothem was first on scene, but Maier also gave “much credit” to city officers who responded quickly and helped him from the water.
Reach Kelly at 330-580-8323 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @kbyerREP