Kayaker saves family after SUV plunges into River

April 8, 2013 1:51:39 PM PDT
A kayaker rescued five members of a Livermore family after their SUV drove into the American River on Thursday, a California Highway Patrol sergeant said.

The crash was reported at 2:55 p.m. off of U.S. Highway 50 near Kyburz, a town approximately 75 miles east of Sacramento, Sgt. Mike Poore said.

The SUV went off the roadway and struck a concrete mile marker, a tree and a boulder before landing on its side in the river, he said.

Inside the SUV there was a mother, father and three daughters -- twin 13-year-olds and a 4-year-old.

The daughters were able to escape the vehicle, which landed on its side in the river, Poore said. They stood on top of the car and got the attention of a passing kayaker, he said.

The kayaker took the girls to shore before returning for their mother and father, Poore said.

The father, 50-year-old Christian Lemler, suffered moderate to major injuries, but the injuries are not considered life-threatening, Poore said.

Lemler was taken to Marshall Hospital in Placerville.

The CHP learned of the crash when an officer en route to another accident was flagged down at about 3 p.m., he said.

The collision remains under investigation but Poore said it had been raining at the time and the roadway was slick.

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