Dad Probably Popped Hatch as Automotive Sank into Mich. Lake, Saving His 2 Younger Women Earlier than He Died: Cops

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Jon Paul Dowler, daughters, Lake Macatawa Michigan trash

GoFundMe Jon Paul Dowler and daughters

Police imagine a Michigan dad who died after driving right into a lake was in a position to pop the again hatch of the automobile open because it sank, which allowed his two younger daughters to flee.

The daddy, recognized as 52-year-old Jon Paul Dowler of Otsego, died after driving into Lake Macatawa over the weekend, in line with a launch obtained by PEOPLE from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Workplace. His two daughters, 8 and 10, escaped the automobile earlier than reaching the shore, the place they had been capable of finding shelter earlier than getting assist afterward Sunday.

Police say the women had been in a position to get out through the back hatch of the vehicle, in line with The Holland Sentinel.

“They said the again hatch opened they usually had been in a position to crawl out of that after which they swam to shore,” Ottawa County Sheriff’s Workplace Lt. Eric Westveer informed the newspaper.

Westveer stated that there is no such thing as a deal with on the within of the hatch and that they imagine the father likely was able to get it to open from the entrance of the automobile, reported MLive. Police additionally stated that it appeared he was making an attempt to interrupt his window open.

In response to a launch obtained by PEOPLE, the women had been “handled for chilly publicity” at a neighborhood hospital, however have since been launched.

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Though an investigation into the crash is ongoing, authorities imagine it was unintentional.

“At this level, we imagine that the daddy grew to become disoriented, not accustomed to the realm, which ended up (with) him ending up within the water simply due to the best way that street is constructed there,” Westveer stated, in line with The Holland Sentinel.

Lake Macatawa, michigan

Lake Macatawa, michigan

Getty Photos Lake Macatawa

“On the finish of the street the place the pavement ends, there’s a few 20-foot stretch earlier than the water that is form of sand and gravel,” he added. “We didn’t find any tire marks in that space, in order that tells us that at that time, he was airborne earlier than going into the water.”

The newspaper reported that Westever stated the stretch of street is darkish, however that it is correctly marked.

“It seems to be a pure accident,” police stated, in line with MLive.

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The ladies informed authorities that on the time of the crash they had been headed residence after visiting a household good friend, per the Sentinel.

“They (stated) they form of fell asleep they usually (wakened) to the sound of the crash after which hitting the water,” Westveer informed the newspaper.

Lorelei Denton, a good friend of Dowler’s spouse, informed MLive/The Grand Rapids Press that she did not imagine their father would hurt them.

“They’re excellent folks,” she informed the outlet of the household. “Jon loved his girls and he would never do anything to hurt them.”

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After making it to the shore, the women tried to seek out assist close by, however weren’t instantly profitable.

They did try and knock on some doors however there have been no solutions as a result of these had been summer season cottages and there is no person in residence on the time,” police stated, in line with ABC affiliate WZZM.

Finally, they had been capable of finding an enclosed porch to spend the evening, reported the Sentinel.

“One of many feedback they made to the officer that truly talked to them … they informed him that on a TV present, they realized that for those who huddle collectively, you should use one another’s physique warmth to remain heat,” Westveer stated, per WZZM. “They had been soaking moist and it was 30 levels out.”

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Later that morning, they had been lastly capable of finding assist.

“I got here out and there’s this little girl standing about the place I’m now, with one shoe on and barefoot,” home-owner Kevin Macleod informed FOX station WXMI over the weekend.

Police stated the home-owner was the one to name, per the Sentinel.

“Him getting them out of the weather at the moment and began warming up undoubtedly saved their lives,” Westveer informed the newspaper.

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A GoFundMe has been created to assist cowl the household’s bills.

“My purpose is to assist her elevate funds to help the quick monetary burdens, so she will focus her time and power getting herself and the women by means of the roughest time of their lives,” Jenny’s good friend, Lorelei Denton, wrote in a message on the fundraising web page.

“Simply hoping and praying we will all come collectively and assist make such a tragic time, not so onerous for this glorious loving household to beat,” Denton added.

As of Wednesday, the GoFundMe has raised over $6,000.

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