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Kayaker Helps Save Livermore Family After SUV Crashes Into American River

The crash happened off Highway 50 in the Sierra on Thursday. Twin girls, 13, and a 4-year-old were rescued from the roof of the car.

Updated 3:07 p.m.: A Livermore man who was rescued, along with his wife and three children, from a car crash in the American River, is expected to survive his injuries, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The family was traveling in the Sierra Thursday when their SUV crashed into the American River. They were rescued with help from a kayaker, according to news reports.

The crash was reported at 2:55 p.m. off of U.S. Highway 50 near Kyburz, a town approximately 75 miles east of Sacramento, CHP Sgt. Mike Poore said.

The father, 50-year-old Christian Lemler, suffered moderate to major injuries, but the injuries are not considered life-threatening, Poore said. Lemler was taken to Marshall Hospital in Placerville.

The SUV hit a concrete mile marker, a large tree, a boulder and landed in the middle of the South Fork of the American River.

A kayaker nearby, Mark Divittorio, came to the family's rescue. He found three children — 13-year-old twins and a 4-year-old girl — on top of the vehicle and helped them to shore.

Then he returned to help the driver keep his head above water as firefighters quickly responded.

Firefighters helped the husband and wife exit the vehicle, and all five family members were taken to an area hospital.

The collision remains under investigation but Poore said it had been raining at the time and the roadway was slick.

You can watch a video report of the incident by clickling this link.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

MTOL April 09, 2013 at 04:42 AM
Wow - what a story. As an earlier commenter said: thank you to Mark and the firefighters for saving this family. You all, including the family, are in my thoughts and prayers...
Pleasanton party of six April 09, 2013 at 06:54 AM
Kari, Divittorio is from Placerville, close to where the accident happened. I grew up there but now live in Pleasanton - that's how I heard about the accident and posted it to the Livermore Patch. Sorry for the confusion!
Kari Hulac April 09, 2013 at 03:10 PM
The kayaker's account of this story is completely amazing. That this family got out is such a miracle. http://patch.com/A-33zj
Karen L K April 10, 2013 at 10:27 PM
Thanks for saying all this. Unfortunately access to the internet and all the comment sections has brought us to this type of thing. I get very tired of seeing this stuff or the spars going on between people. Some people I guess just don't have anything better to do than attack people.
Karen L K April 10, 2013 at 10:28 PM
That is so wonderful that this kayaker helped this family!!!!

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