By Jennifer McGraw

SUTTER COUNTY (CBS13) – A Marysville family is praising Sutter County first responders for rescuing their daughter who was trapped underwater after a suspected DUI crash.

It happened on Clements Road near Franklin Saturday morning.

“It was horrific. I was having nightmares the whole time,” said Michael Russell after getting the news his daughter Meggan was in the ICU.

After hearing the news, Russell flew half way around the world while on vacation, wondering if his daughter would even make it.

“I had a feeling her spirit left and that she was gone,” he said.

But she would defy the odds and survive a rollover crash into a canal after being left for dead.

“I don’t think I’ve ever felt fear like that in my life,” said Wendy Alnajdawi, Meggan’s mother.

Officers were called to the scene and found a car flipped into a canal.

Nearby and soaking wet, 27-year-old Travis Stanton was questioned by officers, he said he was going for a late night swim and nothing about the car.

“They had asked him twice if someone was in the car, he said no,” Alnajdawi said.

However, Meggan was still trapped inside and emergency responders were almost too late.

“He’s my hero. He jumped into the water without a thought about himself,” her mother exclaimed.

Officer Steven Klippel and Battalion Chief Richard Epperson said Meggan must have tried to swim up through the trunk for air before nearly drowning.

“I could hear someone breathing,” Klippel said and jumped into the 5 foot deep canal.

“We figured it was about a minute and a half to three minutes before we got her out of the water,” Epperson said, “She was not breathing and there was no pulse.”

“We just worked as hard and as fast as we could,” Klippel said.

But thanks to a passerby and first responders, her family believes she’s alive.

“They saved her life,” she said.

Officers said Stanton was drunk and driving the vehicle that nearly killed Meggan.

“How did he get out of the car? Why did he leave her?” her sister Danielle Russell said and hopes those with any more information to come forward.

Meggan’s father said it’s time to focus on those who saved her life and then in the end, justice will be served.

“Everybody says you know, they believe in God, there’s a God. There’s a God. There is a God otherwise this wouldn’t of happened. This is a miracle,” he said.

Stanton will be arraigned Tuesday on felony DUI and those charges could be enhanced.

Apparently Meggan and Stanton were friends and left a late night party together.

The crash is still under investigation.


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