Cusick man rescues toddler from Pend Oreille River - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Cusick man rescues toddler from Pend Oreille River

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When Spencer looked out his window he saw that a car had drove through his mailbox, which landed 20 yards away. When Spencer looked out his window he saw that a car had drove through his mailbox, which landed 20 yards away.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Bob Spencer was watching TV with his wife when he heard a loud bang Wednesday night.

“It sounded like a shotgun going off actually.”

When Spencer looked out his window he saw that a car had crashed right through his mailbox, which landed 20 yards away. Moments later, he heard the cries of a toddler.

"I heard a child's voice crying, saying ‘mommy mommy’ and at that time I went oh brother we have a problem."

In the daylight hours Thursday, Spencer walked along River Road as he followed the path a car took before rolling down an embankment and crashing into the Pend Oreille River.

But the night before, his steps were more urgent; Spencer was following the voice of a 3-year-old girl trapped in the water.

"We could hear the little girl and my wife kept talking to her because even with the flashlight in that black water you can't see."

Spencer was working against the clock. So he became desperate, bent on finding the little girl. Within seconds he saw the frightened girl holding onto a bush that peaked out of the river.

“When I caught up with her I asked if she was hurt, she said no,” said Spencer. "I said can you put your arms around my neck which and she did and I lifted her up and could cradle her."

It was a brief moment of joy shadowed by a tragedy. The girl no longer has a mother. Andrea Heinen, 21, was one of two women killed in the crash.

Back down the road, Spencer replaced his mailbox, which he says will serve as a reminder of what happened just outside of his home.

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