2010-09-02 / Front Page
Car plunged into Port Aransas surf
By Dan Parker
A police officer, a firefighter and two bystanders saved a woman from drowning this morning at the beach in Port Aransas.
The woman, who wasn’t identified by police, apparently drove her car into the surf a short distance south of Access Road 1A about 6:45 a.m., said Port Aransas Police Lt. James Stokes. Police are treating the case as a suicide attempt, Stokes said.
Stokes said the driver was a 50-year-old woman who recently moved to the Coastal Bend from New Mexico. The woman, who was alone in the car, lived in Port Aransas for a short time earlier this year but now lives in Corpus Christi, Stokes said.
After the police department received a report of a car in the water, Officer Amy Garcia responded and found the car about 30 feet from shore, with the woman in the driver’s seat. One of the back windows was open, and the four-door Nissan sedan was filling with water, Garcia said.
Garcia worked with Dwight Kirkpatrick, assistant chief of the Port Aransas Volunteer Fire Department, and two bystanders to get the woman out of the car. The bystanders were identified by police as Joey Dooley, 28, of Ingleside and Russell Brothers, 49, of Port Aransas.
Still in their clothes, the rescuers waded into the water and found that the woman was unconscious. Water was up to her chin and was repeatedly sloshing over her face, Garcia said.
No one could get a door open, so Garcia climbed into the car through a back window and held the woman’s head up to keep her from getting water in her mouth.
Kirkpatrick smashed the driver’s-side window and a sun roof. They then were able to drag the woman out of the car and get her to shore.
Beginning CPR, Kirkpatrick did just three chest compressions on the woman before she spat up seawater, started coughing and regained consciousness, Garcia said.
The woman, who didn’t appear to have physical injuries, sat on the sand and spoke with EMS personnel while her car was being towed out of the water. She later was taken by ambulance to Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial in Corpus Christi, where she would receive a mental evaluation, Stokes said.
“There is no doubt that the woman would have drowned had it not been for the quick actions of Officer Garcia and Assistant Fire Chief Kirkpatrick,” PAPD Chief Scott Burroughs wrote in a news release. “Every once in a while, events like this come along, and the training and experience really pays off.”