Family mourns man who died in retention pond crash

Sasha Cottom
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Sasha Cottom, the father of two little girls, died Saturday night when his SUV went into a retention pond near State Road 32 and Sanibel Circle.

Cottom, 22, of Noblesville was pulled from the Jeep after he drove into a retention pond at the Sandpiper Lakes subdivision.  Witnesses told police they saw a white SUV come into the neighborhood shortly after 8:15 p.m., then a few moments later, make a sharp turn into the pond. They also said they didn't see anyone get out before the SUV became fully submerged in the water.

Cottom was airlifted to an Indianapolis hospital, but was pronounced dead a short time later.

It took divers from at least three different fire departments 45 minutes to find the SUV and bring Cottom to the surface.

His fiancee, Allison Grant, was on her way to meet Cottom when she drove by the pond. "My stomach dropped," said Grant, when she heard they were looking for a white SUV. 

Before police or firefighters could tell her who was in the SUV, the life she knew with Cottom had ended too soon. "I wanted so badly to drop to my knees - I knew it was him," she said Sunday.

Grant and the two children were on their way to meet Cottom at a friend's house in the Sandpiper subdivision. "I would have never thought in a million years something like this would have happened."

"I truly believe deep down in my heart that he was knocked out unconscious, because I know he would have fought with every muscle in his body to get out, because he loved the girls and I, and he would have never wanted to see them grow up without him," said Grant.

Grant and Cottom met in high school, and the first of their two children came soon. The responsibilities of adulthood came quickly and the couple had to grow up fast. He worked two jobs and, until recently, Grant was a stay-at-home mother. She never saw herself as a single mother, "But now I really appreciate what he gave me," said Grant.

Sasha Cottom was Steve Cottom's youngest son. He was born in the Ukraine and raised in Noblesville. "I don't know, life is not supposed to be this way," said Steve on Sunday. "I guess you are not supposed to bury your children."

Sasha's father would like to see safety barriers put up around retention ponds to save other families from the pain he is going through. "I can tell you right now," said Steve Cottom, "I am certain there is someone out there walking around right now that will not be walking around 12-18 months from now because they will be in a similar accident that involves a retention pond that will take someone's life."

Westfield Police are still investigating the cause of the accident.