What's Next for Toddler Who Survived 14 Hours in Submerged Car

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Photo: CBS News

The astounding 18-month-old who survived a car crash that killed her 25-year-old mother, Lynn “Jenny” Groesbeck, on Friday night in Utah continues to amaze. “The family is blown away by how quickly she has improved,” Groesbeck’s friend, Ali Sumsion, tells Yahoo Parenting of Lily Groesbeck. The baby was suspended upside down in her infant seat for about 14 hours inside the car partially submerged in a Spanish Fork, Utah river before a fisherman spotted the wreck and called police. Lily is back to smiling, laughing and singing ‘Wheels on the Bus,’ according to the family’s Go Fund Me page. “She has made amazing progress,” says Sumsion.

The toddler was unconscious when emergency responders pulled her from the river, each of whom  swears they heard they heard an adult voice calling for help — though Lily’s mother had already passed away inside the vehicle. The toddler was trapped in her seat above the frigid water and that’s what likely saved her. “The fact that she was dry, she probably had on multiple layers because it’s winter, and there’s always a chance that she had just been sort of fed right before this happened probably all played a role,” Dr. Barbara Walsh, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, tells CNN. Multiple first responders to the river wreck, in contrast, had to be treated for hypothermia.  

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There has still been no explanation for the cause of the crash, which occurred around 10:30 p.m. as mother and daughter were returning from a visit to Groesbeck’s parents’ home less than 20 minutes away in Salem, Utah. But as loved ones mourn the loss of the aspiring medical assistant and Provo College student, they can take comfort in knowing that her child will be cared for going forward — even though her legal guardian has yet to be determined and her father hasn’t been publicly identified. 

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“Lily is surrounded by many, many people who love her and she will be taken care of,” says Sumsion, who established the Go Fund Me page to raise funds for medical treatments Lily will likely need. “She is constantly surrounded by family members.” Her mom was the youngest of five, after all. 

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Jenny Groesbeck (Photo: CBS News)

“Jenny was loved by so many people,” adds Sumsion. “She was a great mom and a loyal friend. Lily was Jenny’s world and I think she would be as amazed as we are at the love and support that has been offered from people around the globe.” In less than two days, the charity page set up for the duo has raised nearly $49,000, blowing away the original goal of $8,000 — a fitting tribute to a selfless woman. 

“She was very compassionate and a very loving person and always willing to bend over backwards for her loved ones,” Jenny Groesbeck’s sister, Jill Sanderson, tells KSL.com. “Her baby was the love of her life. She was an amazing mother.” 

To contribute to the family, please visit their Go Fund Me page. 

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Photo: CBS News

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