Aurora Cops, Firefighters Honored for Saving Teen

Annie Prosser was under icy water for several minutes after March 9 crash

By Christian Farr
|  Tuesday, Apr 30, 2013  |  Updated 7:40 PM CDT
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Nearly two months ago, Annie Prosser spent more than 20 minutes submerged in an ice-covered pond.

Nearly two months ago, Annie Prosser spent more than 20 minutes submerged in an ice-covered pond.

Seven police officers who risked their own lives to save a 14-year-old girl submerged in an ice-covered pond nearly two months ago were honored Tuesday.

The officers received the Aurora Police Department's highest honor, the Medal of Valor, for their efforts on March 9.

Annie Prosser was one of four people that night who were in a car that went into the pond just off eastbound Interstate 88 in Aurora. The driver died, but Prosser's mother and another 14-year-old girl escaped the vehicle.

Among the first responders to the scene was Aurora Fire Department veteran Kris Tappendorf, who pulled Prosser from the submerged vehicle after she'd been underwater for about 25 minutes.

"[She was] unconscious. She was not responsive. Dead," he said.

But officers, including John Hahn, took over and started CPR on the teen.

"By her throwing up in my mouth I thought maybe that was a good sign, and by that point we were already running with her to the ambulance on the stretcher," said Hahn.

Nearly two months later, Prosser is almost fully recovered. She spent time Tuesday hugging each of the officers and firefighters who helped her that day.

"Overwhelming joy when I saw her walk into a fire station to talk to us three weeks afterwards, so it's great," said Tappendorf.

The officers honored Tuesday included Hahn, Greg Christoffel, Ed Doepel, Nick Gartner, Erik Swastek, Josh Sullivan and Chris Coronado. The fire department later this year will hold its own ceremony to honor Tappendorf, Brett Svedsen, Dan Ahasic, Dan Kveton, Tom Contreras and Jerry White.

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