FAIRFIELD, Ohio — A man was suspected to be impaired and had been driving recklessly before he drove his pickup into a pond last month, according to a traffic report. He pulled his 4-year-old son to safety, but he and his 6-year-old daughter drowned.
The driver, 35-year-old Morance Harrison, and 6-year-old Nena Harrison died of accidental drowning on Sept. 30 at the Villages of Wildwood Apartments, according to the Butler County coroner.
Harrison had been driving recklessly on a golf course near 5877 Ross Road when he lost control of his 2003 Ford F150 and drove it into a pond, the report said. Harrison pulled his 4-year-old son out of the sinking pickup and got back into the pond to look for his daughter, according to the report.
Nena Harrison had been sitting in an “unenclosed cargo area” at the time of the crash, according to the report. It’s not clear where her brother was sitting when the pickup crashed.
Donta Laskey, 10, and Kai Krummen, 13, who live in the complex, told WCPO they were riding their bikes near the pond when they saw the red pickup sink into the water. They said they saw a man desperately trying to save the others until he went under the water and never came up again.
A dog walker passing the scene entered the water to pull Harrison's son all the way out and later told rescuers he had nearly managed to save Nena, according to police spokesman Doug Day.
The boys did what they could do to help. Donta made the first call to 911.
“I was just, like, scared, because that was my first time having to call them,” Donta said.
Meanwhile, Kai called his mother, Sarah Haggard. Haggard ran from her apartment to the pond, comforted the rescued boy and asked another neighbor to bring him blankets until help arrived.
"I just picked him up. He was soaking wet and he just latched on to me and he was not wanting to let go," Haggard said. "And I was not wanting to let go, either."
A day after the crash, Fairfield police said there might have been early signs of trouble before the truck hit the water.
Someone called 911 and reported a red truck driving around the old golf course.
“He pulls up to the back of the Pub parking lot, where the kids' park is. He goes over the curb between our dog park and our fitness center, drives down the hill, around the pond," the caller said. "I don't know where he goes after that because I can't see him.”
It's not clear that was the same truck, but the descriptions are similar.