PLANT CITY, Fla. -- An 82-year-old woman is recovering after she crashed her car into a Plant City pond on Saturday evening. Two Hillsborough County deputies pulled her to safety.
“We were just in the right spot at the right time,” Deputy Trent Migues said.
According to Florida Highway Patrol, Leona Evans was driving down Paul Buchman Highway, when she hit a pole at the intersection with Alexander Road North, flew up in the air, crashed through a fence and landed in the water.
“When the adrenaline’s going and you’ve got a mission you don’t have time to think about it,” Deputy Benjamin Thompson said.
It wasn't the call they were assigned, but Deputies Migues and Thompson were the first responders to Evans' car in the pond. Deputy Thompson swam out to her.
“She was just holding the steering wheel, white knuckled, staring straight ahead, and very pre-occupied, very upset with the situation, I couldn’t get her attention, tried to open the door and the door wouldn’t open, the doors were locked,” Thompson said.
Thompson said, with multiple tries and just as many cuts, he broke the window.
“It was like a tsunami, a waterfall, it just rushed in and water went from her ankles to her chest in a few seconds,” Deputy Thompson said.
“Watching the water rise up to the lady’s chin I remember hearing her scream, and one of the most spookiest things she was screaming and all of a sudden the roof kind of went under water and the screaming stopped my partner disappeared in the car,” Deputy Migues said.
Thompson said he went underwater for about ten seconds, and those seconds felt like years, but he grabbed hold of Evans.
“Gotta get her out, gotta get her out, no, no, no, no, no, gotta get her out, gotta get her out , that’s just all I couldn’t think of anything else, just things were happening so fast,” Thompson recalls.
With the help of Good Samaritans, Deputy Migues pulled his partner, and Deputy Thompson pulled Evans to safety. Evans was transported to the hospital in serious condition.
“I told her she’s a tough old lady she appreciated me lightening the mood and explaining that to her cause that was a pretty serious accident, there’s no doubt in our mind, we were talking about it, had we been seconds later after that, there’s no doubt she wouldn’t be here right now,” Deputy Migues said.