NewsPasco County


Video shows desperate attempt to rescue submerged driver

He drove into a lake after seizure
Posted at 8:56 PM, Mar 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-13 20:56:23-04

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. — When the first two deputies got to the lake inside the Wesley Chapel district park, their body camera video shows a group of witnesses already trying to help.

“As soon as they saw it happen, they stopped and just dropped everything they were doing. Baseball games, basketball games. And just rushed over to help,” said Deputy Michael Updike.

The two passengers riding in the car told deputies they were able to jump out just as the car drove into the lake.

Related: 1 dead, 2 rescued from car in water at Wesley Chapel District Park

But the driver, who investigators say had a seizure, was still stuck inside, with the car under water.

“Hey! No! His hands are moving. Let’s go,” screamed one witness.

By the time deputies got to the lake, the driver had been submerged for at least 15 minutes.

Updike worked to find the driver, but couldn’t feel his hand.

The door wouldn’t open either.

“You can’t see anything. That’s the thing. You can’t see anything,” the deputy is heard saying on the video.

For Deputy Debbie Aocasio, it is just her 3rd week on the job.

“It was almost surreal. They teach you in the academy and orientation to expect almost anything. But when it actually happens, it’s a lot different,” she said.

Pasco Fire Rescue showed up next, and got the driver out. 

They tried to revive, 22-year-old David Lamontagne. But despite what everyone did to help, he didn’t survive.

“You always Monday morning quarterback yourself, wondering what you could have done differently,” said Updike.

“It’s kind of weighed on me a little bit. You play everything,” said Aocasio.

The deputies saw the video for the first time Tuesday. 

And while they are devastated by the loss of the driver, they are also amazed by the acts of total strangers.

“It kind of restores your faith in the community to see so many people out there helping,” said Aocasio.

Investigators say they don’t know if the driver died from drowning or something else.

The other two in the car escaped with just minor injuries.