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Passersby Save Woman, 3 Children From Car In Retention Pond

CHICAGO (CBS) -- When a woman accidentally drove, with her three children, into a Round Lake Beach retention pond during Wednesday night's storm, two passersby acted heroically.

"Pretty intense situation," is how 43-year-old Blaine Smith of Lake Villa describes what happened just after he had left a Mexican restaurant on Rollins Road. He saw the car in the nearby retention pond as it was storming and he got out of his car and went to help.

"When you hear kids crying and screaming and I looked at the mother and she was completely panic-stricken," Smith said.

Round Lake Beach Police say Smith and Steve Aversano rescued the family as the water filled the car. Smith said Aversano was already heading into the water as he exited his own car.

Image of the woman's car sinking in a Round Lake Beach retention pond. (Credit: Round Lake Beach police)

"He had opened the back door and as soon as he did that I heard the children screaming and crying," Smith said.

Blaine Smith went back for the mother after the children were out.

"I tried to open the door and the door wouldn't open," he said.

So Smith had the mom climb to the back seat and exit the open back door where Aversano was.

"I've been going to Tacos El Norte for the longest time and, just so happened that, that night I guess I was supposed to be there," Smith said.

He said he doesn't want any accolades for what he and Aversano did. He just hopes he did what anybody would in that situation.

Police said the mother had mistaken a retention pond as part of a parking lot. Her children are 3, 5, and 7-years old.

Smith said everyone was fine, but was "traumatized".

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