Henry Laseke, 89, drowned. He used his cell phone to call for help after he accidentally drove his SUV into the water last Thursday in the 1500-block of Courtland Drive.
The accident remains under police investigation, but his neighbors think the 89-year-old was trying to back into his garage when he hit the accelerator. A widower, Laseke lived alone. Several neighbors also called 9-1-1.
"The car is nose diving down as we talk," one witness told a dispatcher.
Laseke was the third one to call.
"Help me, help me quick. I live on the courtyard, on the pond, I go into the lake," Laseke told the dispatcher. His brand new Cadillac continued to sink. He told the dispatcher he put his foot on the accelerator.
"I'm in the lake, hurry up I'm sinking hurry up," Laseke said.
The dispatcher keeps Laseke on the line, trying to get him to calm down.
"Hurry up, I'm sinking. The water is coming up," he said.
Laseke is heard talking to someone else- Rick Geiger, a neighbor who swam out to help, but couldn't get the door or a window open.
"He was in shock, he had his cell phone in his hand. I tried to get him to acknowledge he saw me but was frozen," Geiger said of the rescue attempt.
Geiger said Laseke couldn't follow his directions to open the water. The 9-1-1 operator was still on the line, but Laseke didn't respond.
"Can you hear me?" she asked. "He is not hearing me."
Arlington Heights Fire Department divers also couldn't break the Cadillac's glass. Several minutes after his call for help, Laseke's SUV was pulled out of the water. It was too late.