WALDORF, Md. - According to the Charles County Sheriffs Department, on Dec. 22 at 12:04 p.m., officers responded to St. Charles Parkway near St. Thomas Drive in Waldorf for a report of a vehicle that drove into a lake.
The officers' investigation revealed a Chevrolet Trailblazer was attempting to turn left from St. Thomas Drive onto St. Charles Parkway when the driver lost control over the vehicle. The SUV left the roadway, entered a nearby lake, floated about 75 feet and began to sink.
William Saunders, a retired captain with the Sheriffs Office who formerly commanded the Patrol Division, arrived on the scene moments after the accident and took immediate action. He dove into the lake and swam out to the sinking SUV. He was followed by a citizen who also stopped to assist. They pulled the driver, Leann Lawson, 26, of Mechanicsville, and her 2-month-old son, from the vehicle.
The SUV quickly sank in the 7-foot deep water. The victims and their rescuers all returned to shore safely.
The victims were transported to Civista Medical Center by ambulance for checkups.
Crash investigators believe the victim and her son would most likely not have been unable to survive the crash if not for the efforts of Retired Captain Saunders and the unnamed citizen who assisted him.
The Charles County Dive Rescue Team and the Waldorf Volunteer Fire Department responded to remove the vehicle from the lake. Additionally, Diver Patrick Moore also recovered all the Christmas presents that floated away from the vehicle.
Officer R. Taylor of the Traffic Operations Unit is investigating the crash.