Bystanders save drowning woman |

Bystanders save drowning woman

J.K. Perry
Bret Hartman/Vail DailyOther motorists and an EMT pulled the driver and a little girl from this SUV after it crashed into Gore Creek Wednesday afternoon.

VAIL ” The GMC Envoy screeched off South Frontage Road in Vail and rolled several times down the embankment into Gore Creek.

On his way home from work at the Vail Golf Club, 17-year-old Kyle Simonett watched as the SUV coming the other way left the road just east of the Ford Amphitheater parking lot. He pulled his car over, turned on the hazard lights and rushed down the embankment to where the SUV lay on its roof in the water.

“At first I couldn’t really believe it just happened,” Simonett said. “Other cars pulled over so I pulled over. Other people were going down so I just hopped into the water to see what I could do.”

Inside the upside-down vehicle were a 7-year-old girl and the driver, Pinky Mirpuri, 32, of Vail. Another man who’d stepped into the creek pulled the girl from the back seat. An EMT who happened to be at the scene was unable to remove Mirpuri, who was submerged in the water and stuck in her seat belt.

So Simonett waded into waist-deep water and lifted up the SUV a foot so the EMT could lift Mirpuri’s head out of the water, allowing her to breathe, Simonett said. They spoke to her and helped her regain consciousness, Simonett said.

In all, Simonett held the car for 20 minutes by himself and then with two additional men, he said. Firefighters arrived and got Mirpuri out of the vehicle and slid her up the embankment on a backboard.

Mirpuri is listed in stable condition at Vail Valley Medical Center. The girl’s condition is unknown, although Simonett said she only appeared to have suffered a cut on her face.

At no time did Simonett feel he was in danger, he said. The car remained stable and no fluids were leaking but he was careful not to touch some broken glass in the window, he said.

“It was a strange way to get off work,” Simonett said.

Strange, and brave as well.

“We’re definitely going to be looking at some rewards for that,” Vail police Commander Susan Douglas said. “Everybody says she would have drowned if they hadn’t pushed the car up.”

Staff Writer J.K. Perry can be reached at 748-2928 or

Vail, Colorado

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