Lake Martin Rescue

By: Candace White
By: Candace White

1-3-07

A Parker man is home tonight after a brush with mortality this morning.

Carlton Baker apparently passed out behind the wheel. He told police he hit his gas pedal instead of the brakes and drove his car into a lake.

Had it not been for a good Samaritan, Baker might not have survived the watery wakeup call.

Crashing your car into the water is something most drivers think about, but usually never have to face. Around 8 a.m. Wednesday morning, 43-year old Carlton Dexter Baker found himself and his car, upside down in Martin Lake.

Sgt. James Jolly with Springfield PD said, "Drove off the side of the road, down the boat ramp, struck the dock, the car flipped over and then landed upside down in the water."

Baker was trapped inside the overturned car until help could come. Springfield police arrived quickly, but they were too late.

"When officers arrived on the scene, the driver of the car had already been pulled out by a citizen. That citizen was Gregory Hill, but don't call him a hero.

"Nah, I'm not a hero."

Hill lives across the street from the boat ramp. When his dad yelled to him about the submerged car, Hill didn't hesitate to act. He jumped into the lake and pulled Baker from the cold water.

Gregory Hill added, "He woulda died. He couldn't swim. He was very disoriented when he came to the surface."

What makes this story even more remarkable is that this isn't the first time Hill has rescued someone who drove into Martin Lake.

"They came down here and did the exact same thing this gentleman did. It was a couple, a gentleman and his wife about a year ago."

And why was he so quick to jump into the water to save a perfect stranger?

"I used to be a lifeguard at Shipwreck Island for a couple of years, but I gave that up."

And for Carlton Baker, it's a blessing Hill didn't forget his lifeguard skills or hesitate to become Baker's guardian angel.

Springfield police say they are trying to find some sort of official way to recognize Gregory Hill for his heroic deeds, both of them.


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