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Baby girl found alive, 24-year-old mother dead, hours after car overturns in river

by Donna Millsap - The Oregon Herald Sunday March 8, 2015    12:16 PM

SALT LAKE CITY - A man saved the life of a baby girl who had been trapped for 13 to 16 hours after the car her mother was driving flipped into a river.

The man who first saw the car, a fisherman, noticed a car upside-down in the water then phoned the information to police. Rescuers tipped the four-door car onto its side and found the 18-month-old Lily Groesbeck strapped in her car seat, still alive. Lily was taken to a Salt Lake City hospital, where she was in critical but stable condition and improving.

Rescuers also found the body of Lily's mother, 25-year old Lynn Jennifer Groesbeck, in the driver's seat.

Police said the accident appears to have occurred at around 10:30 p.m. local time on Friday as Groesbeck and her daughter were driving home to Springville, a suburb of Provo. A witness near the site heard a noise and investigated but observed nothing at the time, police said.

A nearby resident told police that he had heard a loud crash the night before at about 10:30 and stepped outside to check, but saw nothing unusual, indicating that Lily was trapped in the car for about 14 hours.

"The vehicle was positioned on its top, and upon arrival of emergency services the vehicle was tipped on its side," the police statement said. "An infant was located in a car seat in the rear passenger seat of the vehicle. A deceased female was located in the driver's seat."

Family members told police the 25-year-old driver was heading home to Springville from a family member's home in Salem when she crashed into the river.

The car appears to have struck a cement barrier on a bridge before entering the river, police said, adding that the cause of the crash was not clear.

"This is just a tragedy all the way around," Spanish Fork Police Lt. Matt Johnson said. "There's not anything at the scene, as far as evidence goes, as why the vehicle left roadway. There were no skid marks to show evasive maneuvers, to show why the vehicle left the roadway and traveled into the river."

Lynn Jennifer "Jenny" Groesbeck wanted to become a medical assistant because she loved helping others.

"She was very compassionate and a very loving person and always willing to bend over backwards for her loved ones. Her baby was the love of her life. She was an amazing mothe

The car was towed and is being examined to determine whether there was brake failure or some other malfunction, Johnson said.

Family members of the mother told police she had left Salem, Utah, and was supposed to be heading to her home in Springville, about 9 miles away.

Groesbeck was the youngest of five children, including three brothers, her sister said. She lived in Utah County all of her life, going to school at Provo High and was currently enrolled at Provo College. Being in the outdoors and spending time with her family were two things that she loved doing, Sanderson said.

Just before the crash on Friday, police say Groesbeck had been visiting her parents in Salem.

There has been a fundraising Go Fund Me account created for the family.

Baby Lily, who was in a car seat in the rear passenger side, was not submerged during the ordeal, Johnson said.

Three police officers and four firefighters were treated at a hospital for hypothermia. The rescuers have since been released.

Photos from mother's Facebook page.

Photo: Lily Groesbeck lone survivor after car mother was driving flipped into river.
Photo 2: Scene of the accident where baby girl Lily Groesbeck found alive, 24-year-old mother dead, hours after car overturns in river.
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