Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Teens Rescue 2 People from Auto in Pool

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Teens Rescue 2 People from Auto in Pool

Article excerpt

Like most teen-age boys, Tim Cahill and Matt Lorbert sometimes do little jobs around the yard for their elderly neighbor, Frank J. Merrill.

On Friday, they did a big one. Because of it, Merrill and 74-year-old Sarah Abron, his housekeeper, are alive today.

"I didn't really think about it, I just reacted," 13-year-old Tim said Saturday morning, gazing across his back yard in the 12900 block of Thornhill Drive in Town and Country. From where he and his 15-year-old friend Matt were seated, they could just see the damaged black fence that surrounds Merrill's pool.

About 3 p.m. Friday afternoon, just as the boys were returning from a trip to nearby Queeny Park, the 72-year-old Merrill set out to drive the housekeeper back home.

Instead of traveling up the driveway, Merrill's red 1988 Chevy Blazer shot backward across his lawn, through the fence and into his pool. It left a pair of curved black skid marks across the concrete deck and along the pool bottom.

"I didn't hear anything," Tim recalled Saturday. "I don't really know why I looked over there. Maybe the dog was barking, I don't remember."

He saw the Blazer in the pool. It took him a moment to realize what had happened. Then he dashed across Merrill's yard and leapt into the pool. He tried to open the driver's side door to drag Merrill free, but only managed to pry it open about a foot before it bumped up against the side of the pool.

With the truck slowly sliding backward toward the deep end, Tim grabbed his neighbor's left arm and hooked it over the top of the partially opened door to keep him above water. By then the water was up to Merrill's chest.

"He looked real startled," said Tim, who will be in eighth grade at Parkway West Middle School this fall. "He was mumbling something, but I couldn't tell what he was saying."

Unable to free Merrill, Tim climbed out of the pool and raced into his neighbor's home to call 911. Then he ran home screaming for help.

Matt was at the end of the driveway waiting for his friend. He wasn't sure what to make of the commotion. "He plays some jokes, so I didn't know," explained Matt, who will be a sophomore at Parkway West High School. …

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