Karen Rinaldi was driving her car to work Tuesday December 15th of 1998. As she would tell it later it was just like any other Tuesday drive to work. As usual she was running a bit late and she was driving faster than she should have been. Driving along listening to traffic and weather reports she was barely paying attention to the road that she traveled down five days a week for the last eight years.
It all happened so suddenly. She came around a bend in the road and had to swerve to miss the large boulder that was right in her path. When she veered her car to the right Karen lost control of the car and it went recklessly off the road and toward the lake on the side of the road. In spite of her best efforts the car plunged into the lake and began to sink to the bottom. In a state of panic Karen could not get out of the car before it was completely submerged in water. Now hysterical all Karen could do was scream. When she tired of doing that she once again tried to exit the vehicle, but the pressure of the water on the doors held her captive. Nothing she tried worked and she sat back and began to cry knowing it was hopeless and knowing no one was coming to help.
Then she remembered her cell phone and quickly got it out of her purse and dialed 911.
It was a beautiful summer night this past July in Columbus, Ohio. The temperature during the day had been in the nineties but it had cooled off a great deal and the weather was perfect for a good night’s sleep. On the top floor of his third story apartment building Michael Bass with his windows open and a cool breeze blowing in laid his head down on his pillow. He knew the next time he lifted it up it would be time to go to work in the morning.
But something happened in the middle of the night before morning ever came. Michael woke up with a start at first not knowing what was wrong but then he determined that he could not breath. It felt like an enormous weight was on his chest. He tried to scream, to talk, to do anything – but all that would come out was a --- whisper. In terror he tried to think of what to do. There was no one else in the house. He was all alone. He knew his days on this earth were coming to an end and he leaned back down on his pillow.
Wait a minute. If he could just get to the phone. He reach over to the table by the side of his bed and after the second try got the phone in his hand and dialed 911.
Elizabeth McDaniel was awakened by a sound in the night. She was a mother of three and so she was used to getting woke up in the night. Her husband Jim had just started working third shift on his job so he was at work. Earlier in the week she had fallen and sprained her wrist and ankle. She really didn’t want to get up but the sound persisted and finally she began to hobble up the stairs to the kids rooms. She was half sleeping when she checked on the kids and then became alarmed when she realized the sound was coming from the outside. Someone was trying to get in the house.
Elizabeth froze in horror not knowing what to do and then she silently tiptoed to the phone and dialed 911.