A car is pulled out of Moose Pond Brook near Route 26 in West Paris on Friday after 68-year-old David Roberts drove into the water and later died. Rescue personnel were in the water searching for other possible victims, but found none. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

A Bryant Pond man died Friday morning when his car crashed into Moose Pond Brook off Route 26 in West Paris.

Emergency personnel place booms in Moose Pond Brook near where a car went into the water Friday morning. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Police said 68-year-old David Roberts died as a result of injuries in the crash.

A group of five people who live nearby attempted to save Roberts, with three of them jumping into the water, breaking windows and hauling the man to shore.

Sheila Delamater, 67, who lives across the brook from the crash scene, said her son, Heith Bernard, 43, was the first to react after he heard the sound of the crash from his bedroom.

“He heard a crash,” Delamater said. “He heard a splash and then somebody screaming.”

The woman screaming was a witness, as it turns out. Seconds later, Bernard, Sheila Delamater and two other men — Roland Delamater, Sheila’s ex-husband, and Jason Koskela, who lives nearby — were racing toward the water. The three men peeled off their clothes and ran into the pond.

The men broke through a sunroof to search for victims, Sheila Delamater said. They eventually found Roberts and dragged him to shore.

Divers search Moose Pond Brook in West Paris after a car went off Route 26 on Friday morning, killing the driver. Oxford County Sheriffs Office photo

“My son used brute strength to drag him up the embankment,” she said.

They got Roberts into the house and began peeling off his wet clothes. There they were joined by another woman, Bernard’s girlfriend, while they attempted to revive the man. The group performed CPR and attempted to warm Roberts’ body.

“We were all trying to take care of him the best we could,” Sheila Delamater said. “We worked so hard to try and save him.”

Sheila Delamater said it appeared that Roberts was alive when they got him into the house. However, a short time later, police and rescue crews arrived, and after examining Roberts they told the group that he had died.

“We did everything humanly possible to save his life, but it obviously wasn’t enough,” Sheila Delamater said. “These three men risked their own lives jumping into the cold water to save him.”

Bernard, Koskela and Roland Delamater were each treated for hypothermia suffered in the rescue.

Later, divers went back into the water to search for any other victims. None were found. Police believe that Roberts had been alone in the car when he crashed.

Rescuers, too, were treated for hypothermia.

Route 26 was closed during the rescue operation. The crash occurred in the area near Mallard Mart. Crews from several agencies joined the rescue effort including Paris, Woodstock and Norway fire departments.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.