Atchison teen describes attempt to save sister from icy pond after crash

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. - The heroic actions of one young woman were not enough to save her sister after their car landed upside down in a Leavenworth pond.

Desirae N. Crossland, 15, was killed when a car driven by her sister, 18-year-old Felicity A. Crossland, hit a patch of ice and crashed into the pond Sunday night at highway 73 at Country Road 33. They were on their way to Zona Rosa.

Felicity said once their car landed in the water, she made it out and tried to free her sister and their friend, 18-year-old Kelsey M. Essig.

Once the car hit the water, Felicity said she struggled for 15 minutes in freezing conditions, before getting out of the car. She made it out and tried to free her sister and their friend, 18-year-old Kelsey M. Essig.

Eventually they all escaped, but Felicity said her sister was badly hurt and very cold from being in the water.

The three girls were taken to area hospitals. Desirae died several hours later. Felicity and Essig were released Monday.

"My sister wasn't just a sister," Felicity Crossland wrote on Facebook early Monday. "She was my best friend. I love her more than anything in the world. I love her and I will always love her."

Felicity wrote she kicked out a window in an effort to save her sister and the other girl in the car.

"Due to the hypothermia I blacked out along with Kelsey shortly after we got out," she wrote. "My little sister didn't make it."

Felicity told 41 Action News the final words she said to her sister.

"I want you to know that I love you so very much and I want you to know that I will never ever take you for granted," Felicity said.

The family is planning a funeral for later in the week for Desirae, who was a freshman at Atchison High School. Felicity is also organizing a vigil for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the family's home south of Atchison.

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