CHICAGO -- A Milwaukee driver owes her life to emergency crews who sprang into action as her car sank in an icy retention pond.
"It almost sounded like she dropped the cell phone and all I heard was like water rushing around," recalled 911 dispatcher, Rebekah McAleese.
Two nights before Christmas Eve, Mcaleese got a call this dispatcher, with 20 years on the job, won't soon forget.
"It was definitely one of the most memorable and scariest calls I've ever taken," she said.
Department of Transportation camera shows the moment a car veered off the highway and landing in the middle of a retention pond.
"So her car was able to hold on the outskirts. Once it reached the middle, that's when the vehicle fell through," said Lt. Tony Scott, with the Milwaukee Fire Dive Rescue Team
The driver was frantic over the phone, telling dispatch she feared she was going to die. She says she was cut off in traffic and that is how she wound up in the pond.
Days later, tire tracks are still evident. So is the area, right in the middle, where her car began to sink.
"She kept telling me she was gonna die, she truly thought she was gonna die and I had to just keep reassuring her, 'just stay with me, talk with me,'" McAleese recalled.
Dispatch told the driver to remain as still as possible so water would flow in at a slower pace. WDJT obtained the incident report, which said that within minutes of the 911 call, icy water was already up to the driver's chest.
That's when the dive team pulled up.
"I just remember it was a really cold night. Our crews on scene actually broke one of the windows, the driver window and was able to pull her out," one of the dive team members said.
"So just knowing that, hearing that on the site channels or on the radio channels that they've made the rescue, and that she's still alive, it's a sense of satisfaction that I did what I needed to do," McAleese said.
"To give a family back their loved one and she's up walking, talking to this day -- that's a huge win for us," Lt. Scott said.