LAWRENCE TWP. — A 17-year-old student driving to Northwest High Thursday morning hit some ice, sending his vehicle down an embankment and into a frigid lake.
The car shut down as water from Lake Lucerne surrounded it The dome light went out. The power windows were locked.
Joshua Robinson, a senior, used his elbow to break the window and free himself.
Lisa Robinson spoke later Thursday on behalf of her son, who was resting and recuperating from injuries, including bumps, bruises and a concussion suffered during the crash off Erie Avenue NW.
The vehicle's window was not secured, she said, which made it easier for her son to shatter. Whenever someone drove it, the wind whistled through the small crack where the seal was damaged, she said.
After climbing out, Joshua Robinson got a ride home with someone he knew who was driving past the scene. His mother was surprised when he returned home shortly after leaving. He was soaked as he walked into the living room, she said. The water reached his chest and was 30 degrees.
Questions flew through Lisa Robin's mind: Why are you wet? What's wrong? How are you standing in my living room? How are you here?
"He's a lucky kid," she said. "It could have ended differently. I don't think it really fully hit until I saw a picture of the car submerged in the water."
Canal Fulton and Lawrence Township emergency crews received a call from a passerby shortly before 8 a.m. The vehicle was partially submerged, stopping just below the windows of the SUV, Canal Fulton Fire Chief Ray Durkee said.
Robinson saw flashing lights pass her home and called 911 to let dispatchers know her son was at the residence.
"I don't think he knew what to do," she said. "I think it was just shock. Home probably was the first thought."
Lawrence Township Police Chief Dave Brown said Joshua Robinson was going north along High Street NE where the road changes to Erie Avenue NW when he lost control and struck the guardrail, continuing 150 feet until he went over the guardrail.
It was snowing at the time, and weather played a factor in the crash, Brown said.
Lisa Robinson said her son hit black ice.
The vehicle, a 2006 Chevrolet Equinox, rolled down the embankment, causing damage to the roof, before coming to a rest in the lake, according to the crash report.
Joshua Robinson was driving under the posted speed limit at 35 mph as he navigated a curve, the report said.
Luckily, Brown said, the vehicle landed upright on all four wheels.
Though he is still shaken up and resting, Lisa Robinson said, her son is OK and will likely return to school Monday.
For her, the guardrail is a major concern.
"I don't believe it was lack of salt or the school's fault for not calling [off] school," Robinson said. "I don't feel like the roads were bad enough ... When I looked out this morning, they were somewhat clear. I think guardrails really need to be addressed down there."
She grew up in the area and attended Northwest High School. She recalls driving the same route as a teenager and thinking what would happen if she went over the embankment.
Robinson doesn't believe she talked to her son about what to do if he finds himself submerged in water. However, she remembers telling him to be conscious of water whenever driving, especially when the weather is bad.
Taller or stronger guardrails should be used to reinforce the area, Robinson said, adding that the current guardrail isn't very high.
"My son could have died today," Robinson said. "What's going to happen next time? Is somebody going to die or are they going to be lucky enough to get out?"