OLATHE, Kan. – Two Olathe teens who rescued a woman who drove into Lake Olathe Sunday evening say they’re no heroes.
Cooper Doherty and Kaeden Fellingham were driving down Dennis Avenue, near Wyckford Street, when they saw a van sticking out of the lake and heard a woman screaming for help.
“The lady was freaking out,” Doherty said.
“[The van] was pretty far out there, about 25-30 yards, maybe further than that,” Fellingham added.
Doherty jumped right in and swam to the woman, who told him she couldn’t swim. She also was unable to get out of the van, which was quickly filling with water, because she was stuck.
“First, I asked if there was anyone else in the car and she said, ‘No, it’s just me,’” Doherty recalled. “She said her foot was stuck in the steering wheel, so I dove under and got in the car and jerked it out.”
Fellingham hopped in to help his friend. However, the woman was able to get onto the roof of the van once Doherty freed her.
“She said she hadn’t been to sleep for a while and that she just fell asleep and drove off the road,” Fellingham said.
The Olathe South seniors sat with the woman until firefighters arrived.
“When [firefighters] came, they sent out a guy and he had a float with him. So they got her out, and me and Kaeden just swam back,” Doherty said.
Doherty told his parents about the rescue when he got home.
“I was like, ‘Wow,’" his father, Justin Doherty, said. “First, my wife was like, ‘That was dangerous. What were you thinking' and I’m like, ‘Yes,’ like very proud. We both we’re proud.”
The 17-year-olds said the experience showed them how fragile life can be. At the same time, they learned extraordinary bravery can come from within.
“Don’t just wait for someone else to do it first,” Doherty said.
“Go with your gut,” Fellingham added. “We’re capable of doing more than we think.”
Doherty and Fellingham said the woman was extremely thankful that they came to her rescue. She is OK.