GARY, Ind. – Rescuers searched the Grand Calumet River (search) Thursday for a 2-year-old girl who flew out a car window and plunged 40 feet into the water when her mother lost control of her truck.
Keisha Bethley (search) said she was driving behind the truck driven by the girl's mother, Jacqueline Greene, when she saw it strike a retaining wall of a toll road ramp over the river.
The toddler, Jatama Greene (search), flew out the window, Bethley said. Bethley said she immediately dialed 911 on her cellular phone, but the dispatcher accused her of placing a phony emergency call.
"She kept saying 'Quit playing around,"' Bethley said. "I said, 'I'm not playing, the baby is in the water."'
Witnesses said the toddler was moving after she struck the water around 8:45 p.m.
A man who drove up after the accident ran down the bank, jumped in the river and tried to reach the baby, but the current was too swift, Bethley said.
Jacqueline Greene, sobbing, was restrained by a friend from descending the river bank to search the water herself. According to police on the scene, the child apparently had not been fastened into protective restraints.
Helicopters shone spotlights on the river Wednesday night to help divers from the Gary Fire Department search for Jatama, but rescuers eventually had to postpone the search until daylight. They resumed Thursday.