12-year-old Maury Co. boy recounts near-drowning in culvert


This past weekend brought heavy rains to parts of Middle Tennessee, and with it, a mother’s worst nightmare.

Mary Beth Lambert says that her children and her niece were begging to go outside and play in the rain. But the kids fun time took a turn for the worst in a matter of seconds.

Pam Baxter recalled the scene of her nephew, 12-year-old Cody Baker, getting taken in by the rushing rainwater straight into a culvert. 

Neighbors quickly came to the rescue. 

Baxter said that one particular neighbor thrust his belly against the other side of the duct to slow down the suction.

The family said that the 5-7 minutes that it took for them to pull Baker out seemed like an eternity.

News 2 obtained the 911 call to which Baxter was hysterical with fear for her nephew’s life:

“He’s going to die; please hurry!”

 “Ma’am, I need you to give me some more information, okay? So how deep is the water?” 

“Oh my god, please!”

“He was actually dead when they pulled him out, and the neighbor had done CPR on him, and he started crying after CPR for a while,” Baxter said.

Baker said that he remembers being sucked into the culvert, and then everything went black. Baker described a near-death experience where he searched for his mother, but he couldn’t find her.

Baker suffers extreme back pain, as well as a few lacerations on his body from fighting against the gutter. Needless to say, most of his, as well as his family’s pain, is emotional.

“I can’t eat. I can’t sleep,” his mom said. “It’s the only thing I see when I close my eyes, so I don’t close my eyes.”

Lambert said she feels blessed to have her son with her, thanks to her sister’s neighbors who were quick to take action.

“I’m so grateful for them …they will never receive enough recognition for what they did.”

Lambert added that she hopes that her son’s story will motivate others to be aware of their surroundings and to learn CPR.

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