First responders who pulled baby Lily from Spanish Fork River recognized for dramatic rescue

Posted at 6:25 PM, Jul 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-15 20:26:47-04

SPANISH FORK, Utah -- The story of Baby Lily's rescue and miraculous recovery in Utah made headlines around the world, and on Wednesday first responders from Spanish Fork were recognized for the heroic rescue.

You've seen the dramatic and emotional rescue of baby Lily through the lens of a police officer’s body camera.

But only a handful of responders from Spanish Fork saw it firsthand.

The Spanish Fork Police Department, Fire and Rescue, and Ambulance received an award Wednesday for their quick actions and heroic rescue that saved baby Lily's life.

“It's been a whirlwind the past couple of months,” said Tyler Beddoes, one of Lily’s rescuers from Spanish Fork Police Department.

Saturday, March 7, is a day Tyler Beddoes said he'll never forget. Beddoes was one of the first on scene, finding Jennifer Grosebeck’s car crashed into the Spanish Fork River.

Inside, Beddoes and other responders found 18-month-old Lily unconscious but breathing and hanging upside down, buckled in her car seat. Her mother, Jennifer, suffered fatal injuries in the crash.

“It's an amazing story that she was able to survive; her poor little head had to be inches over that water all night long,” said Paul Tomadakis, a firefighter for Spanish Fork.

She had been in the river for 14 hours, and had it not been for their efforts--baby Lily would not have survived.

“It's memories we will never forget, but we talk about it as a crew still; we discuss things, we shed tears, hugs,” said Mark Byers with Spanish Fork AEMS.

It's a rescue responders said will stand out in their minds throughout their lives.

“That little child looked lifeless, she was completely pale--lethargic, just no movement in that little child whatsoever, soaking wet,” Byers said.

Rescuers said their biggest reward is seeing baby Lily make a full recovery.

“It's hard to describe that feeling because to see her, I remember grabbing her hand as she's looking up into my eyes like nothing happened, but there was that connection there,” Beddoes said.

Time and time again, Lily's rescuers said it's not just their efforts--but all the first responders in Spanish Fork that make these types of miracles happen.

According to police, Groesbeck had been visiting family in Salem and was headed home to Springville around 10:30 p.m. when she veered off the road and crashed into the river. After the crash, they expected to have toxicology results back in 3 to 4 weeks but they're still waiting on those results.