Forsyth family saves crash victims on Christmas Eve


FORSYTH, Ill. (WAND) — In life, seconds matter — and second chances matter even more.

On Christmas Eve, the Oliver family was heading over the river and through the woods to another Christmas vacation when they came across a sight none of them expected.

“When I got there, it was a lot worse than I expected,” said Grace Oliver.

“We started hearing kids screaming in the back,” said her brother, Mason. “At that point, you don’t do any thinking.”

Five people. Five lives. Hardly even five seconds to make a decision.

“Honestly, I didn’t feel anything,” Mason said. “There wasn’t much feeling. There was a lot of adrenaline.”

“I was worried about what he was going to see when he opened that door,” said his mother, Shelly.

A car had flipped upside down in a concrete culvert near East Mound Park in Decatur. Frigid creek water was already pouring inside. Mason jumped into waist-deep water and opened that door without a second thought.

“I open it up and see the kids,” he said. “I see the one-year-old or the toddler holding up his little infant brother out of the water.”

Mason pulled out three kids in total, handing them off to his mother and sister so they could calm them down and warm them up.

“Anybody in that situation would’ve done the same thing,” Mason said. “We were just in the right place at the right time.”

“It was very fast,” Shelly said. “But I was very, very proud of both of them.”

An ambulance arrived a few minutes later and took the three kids and their mother and grandmother to the hospital.

The Olivers know things could have been much worse, but they’re as grateful as ever to have even a few more seconds together as family.

“Being firsthand at the scene, it’s amazing we helped those kids,” Grace said. “There’s not better feeling than that.”

Current Conditions