Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

August 15, 2023
Angel across the lake

Stansbury man saves drowning woman  

A Stansbury man was outside playing darts with his 17-year-old daughter around 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 1 when he heard calls for help from across the lake.

Kelly Rountree saved a paraplegic woman, Lisa Kingston, whose wheelchair slipped into the lake with her in it.

Kingston is calling Rountree her angel.

“We were throwing darts at the board and we kept hearing a voice,” Rountree said, who has lived on the lake since 2005. “I couldn’t tell what they were saying at first. I thought it was kids talking to each other or yelling, but then I thought I heard someone calling their mom … A little while later I heard the same thing. I took a look at the lake to see if I could see anyone in the lake, but there was nobody there, so we went back to playing, and then I heard it again … I looked across the lake but I couldn’t make out what it was.”

Rountree continued to scan the lake. Then he saw a woman on the shoreline looking panicked and talking on the phone.

“I saw her mom coming down the hill with her phone in her hand saying, ‘Please hurry. Please hurry,’” he said. “She was heading down the lake and my eyes tracked her. I looked down the lake, and I realized that the black thing was somebody in the water. I said to my daughter, ‘Oh my God, somebody is drowning.’”

Rountree dropped everything he was doing and hopped in his vehicle to drive to the other side of the lake where the woman was. He drove there traveling 80 mph. He made the normally three-minute drive in less than a minute. He had almost no thoughts running through his head at the time, he said.

Pulling up in front of the home he thought was the correct house, Rountree found out he had stopped two houses down. He ran to the backyard of the home, but he couldn’t see anyone.

“I could see my daughter on the deck across the lake yelling at me telling me, ‘Wrong house,’” Rountree said. “My daughter was instrumental in directing me. I went across two yards … I came out into the yard and at that point, her mother said, ‘Please help. Please help.’”

Without thinking, Rountree kicked off his shoes and jumped into the water to see what he could do to help save Kingston.

“Her chair was on its side and she was belted in,” Rountree explained. “Her head was sideways and she was trying her best to keep her head out of the water.”

Rountree was able to hold up Kingston’s head with one hand and unbuckle her seatbelt with the other hand. He then moved her out of her wheelchair to more shallow water where he was able to hold her above water until help arrived about five to 10 minutes later.

“I heard sirens, and I heard them getting closer and closer,” Rountree said. “I knew help was getting closer.”

When Tooele County Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters from the North Tooele Fire District arrived, they were able to rescue Kingston from the water.

After the rescue, Rountree drove home a hero, but he doesn’t believe he is a hero.

“It was fortunate that we were outside and I was able to get over there quickly, but I honestly believe any normal person would have done it,” Rountree said. “It’s no big deal.”

Rountree encourages those who see someone in need of help to act.

“Get involved,” he said. “Don’t hesitate to lend a hand if you see something going on. Don’t think; just act.”

The Transcript Bulletin caught up with Kingston in her Stansbury home. She was happy to retell the story.

“I was waiting to go to therapy that day,” she said, rehashing the day’s events. “It was so nice that I thought I would just go outside for a bit and get some sun. I’d never really gone down on the lawn. I always stay on the porch. I was relaxing and getting some sun in my wheelchair … It’s actually funny, because I was looking across the lake and admiring Kelly’s dogs. It’s crazy… I then decided that I wanted to go down to look into the lake. I didn’t think it was that steep. I got a little bit too close to the water and I could feel myself getting closer and closer and wanting to slide. I tried to back myself up and my wheelchair started slipping and wouldn’t back up. I kind of just started going forward. After that, I’m not quite sure what happened. I know I went into the water sideways. I felt a splash and I was like, ‘Oh my goodness.’”

Kingston yelled for help and worked to keep her head above water by holding up her head with her hand.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. This is not the way I want to go.’” Kingston said. “All of a sudden, I see this arm come around me and see this gentleman’s face.”

After her rescue, Kingston suffered from a scraped knee and mental trauma related to the incident.

“I won’t go off of the porch again,” she said. “It’s even hard for me to look out the window sometimes.”

Kingston’s insurance will be covering the cost of a new wheelchair. Right now, she is using a chair that has been loaned to her, since her old chair was ruined in the accident.

Kingston is very thankful for Rountree’s help saving her.

“He is my angel,” she said. “I am so thankful we crossed paths. It was pretty amazing and he put the faith back in humanity … He is amazing.”

Kingston is also thankful for the community’s support after her accident.

“The people I’ve been involved with have all seen me on the news and have reached out wholeheartedly to make sure I’m okay. There is good stuff out there, said Kingston.”

Kingston became a paraplegic after she was involved in a car accident three years ago and broke her neck. She will be moving to Montana in a few months to be with her daughter.

Rountree is a local hero for his quick thinking and ability to remain calm.

“The outcome of this may have been different if Rountree wasn’t there,” said Jon Smith, public information officer at the North Tooele Fire District. “It’s really great to see people helping people. Kelly is the perfect example of what we look for in a hero. I know he says he’s not a hero, but he is. He didn’t panic or act impulsively. He reacted calmly. We are really proud of what he was able to do. He is an exceptional member of the community. The guy’s a hero and deserves to be celebrated … He did everything right.”

This isn’t the first time Rountree has saved someone on the lake.

During a microburst storm about 10 years ago, a woman’s boat capsized. Rountree, after hearing calls for help, jumped in his canoe and paddled to where the woman was. He was able to get her out of the water and bring her back to his home to warm her up and make sure she was okay.

When Rountree isn’t saving lives, he enjoys fishing, paddleboarding, and spending time with his family. He also enjoys making music and is a freelance photographer. He specializes in environmental portraiture and drone and video photography for real estate.  His photography website is

People should be prepared to act during emergencies, Smith said.

“You definitely want to help, but don’t swing past your reach,” he said. “Don’t put yourself in harm’s way … Simply calling for help can be a heroic act.”


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