DeWitt: Local hero recounts how he saved woman's life

DeWitt resident Joel Parratt was at his mother's camp off Lake Ontario when the unexpected occurred. Late afternoon on Aug. 3, Parratt heard screams coming from the water and instantly reacted. Two women were in danger: sisters Autumn, 51, of Lysander and Kate Starr, 54, of Marcellus. They were desperately trying to save their lives after riptides pulled them away from shore.

Parratt was one of two men who saved their lives. The other was Autumn's husband Rich Baier -- the first to run to the scene.

In his own words, the following is Parratt's account of what took place that day:

Where did the incident take place? What date was it? Time of day?

It took place on Lake Ontario, in front of my mother's camp on Renshaw Bay Road in the town of Sandy Creek. It was Sunday Aug. 3 at about 5:30 p.m.

How were you alerted that someone was in danger?

My mother and I were in the basement (it is a walk-out on the lake side) of her camp turning off the power (we were getting ready to head home) when we heard someone screaming. As we weren't sure if it was just kids playing, we stepped outside to hear better. We then realized it was someone screaming for help and that it was coming from the lake.

What was your initial reaction?

I started running toward the lake. I don't recall thinking about what I was doing other than trying to get to whomever needed help as quickly as I could.

Have you ever been in a situation similar to this one before?


What made you decide to take action?

We are in a remote location, the camps are spread out (there are only two other camps that anyone could have seen this from, and one was the camp the sisters were staying at) and the conditions were rough.

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