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Family of child pulled from reservoir calls his recovery a miracle

Posted at 5:57 PM, Aug 24, 2022

EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah — A 9-year old Eagle Mountain boy continues to recover in the hospital after being rescued from a truck that ended up in a Summit County reservoir.

Family says that boy, Paxton, was at Smith and Morehouse Reservoir on Monday with some other family members.

"We're not sure what happened at that point, the truck started to roll down, they tried to get the kids out of the car," said Kelley Carpenter, Paxton's aunt.

Two of those kids, a 9-year-old and a 2-year old girl. The boy was able to get himself out while a family member helped get the girls out before the truck was submerged.

It wasn't until Joe Donnell, a retired park ranger who had been kayaking nearby, made several attempts, according to Carpenter, to get Paxton out of the truck once it went under water.

"We've heard that the gentleman had to dive down about seven times before he finally grabbed some clothing and was able to get Paxton out," said Carpenter.

Paxton was airlifted to Primary Children's Hospital where Carpenter says he is currently in the ICU and on life support.

"The doctors say that he is doing well and is able to respond to some of their tasks," said Carpenter. "They did not think that he would survive."

Carpenter visited Paxton Tuesday night.

"Every time I spoke to him he responded to me, whether that be squeezing my hand, shaking his head, he was mouthing the words Mom and mommy, so mom was right there with him," said Carpenter.

Carpenter said Paxton had just started fourth grade at New Hope Academy in Lehi. She describes her nephew as funny, energetic and loving.

"He's very outgoing, loves to be around all his nieces and nephews, loves playing Fortnite with us," said Carpenter.

She says before this incident happened, she had last seen Paxton on July 24.

"We took the boat out, went fishing, he caught his fish was very happy."

With his love for others and what Carpenter describes as a contagious laugh, she's optimistic Paxton will continue to make progress in his recovery.

"He's going to keep fighting, as well as, all of us," said Carpenter.

Carpenter said that whenever Paxton gets better they are hoping to reunite him with Donnell and thank him for what he did for their family.

The family says they have an account set up through Mountain America Credit Union under "Paxton's Donations," along with a Venmo account They have also set up a @paxdonations Venmo account.