‘Reckless’ drive on Florida golf course ends with motorist dead in pond, police say

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A call to law enforcement about a “reckless vehicle” driving on a golf course ended with police finding a car submerged in a retention pond and the driver still inside, according to the Bunnell Police Department.

The motorist, who has not been identified, was pronounced dead at a hospital, the department said in a news release.

A police officer was also hospitalized after he jumped into the pond and attempted a rescue, police said.

It happened around 10 p.m. Saturday, May 21, when someone reported a vehicle was driving across the golf course at the Grand Reserve subdivision in Bunnell, police said. Bunnell is about 70 miles southeast of Jacksonville.

Two members of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team hover over the site of the vehicle while checking to make sure there are no passengers left inside.
Two members of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team hover over the site of the vehicle while checking to make sure there are no passengers left inside.

“About 10 minutes later, the officer reported finding a vehicle submerged in a pond near the 400 block of Grand Reserve Drive,” the department said.

“Its taillights were visible near the surface. The officer quickly stripped off his gun belt and entered the water alone in an effort to effect a rescue. Underwater, the officer broke a rear window using a punch device. After clearing away the glass with his bare hands, the officer unfortunately could not reach the occupant.”

The Flagler County Fire Department arrived and found the driver “approximately 10 feet under the water.” Two firefighters broke out the windows, cut away her seat belt and carried the driver 30 feet to shore, the fire department said in a release.

“They immediately began CPR, intubated her and she was transported to AdventHealth,” the fire department said. “Unfortunately, the patient did not survive but crews did a phenomenal job tending to her aid in such harsh conditions.”

The police officer who attempted a rescue was treated for “several cuts to both hands” and released from a hospital, police said.

A wrecker removed the vehicle from the pond with the help of a dive team, police said.

The investigation is being handled by the Florida Highway Patrol, officials said.

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