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Woman drives car into Lake Virginia

Photo by Maura Leaden

Students were startled yet eager to help after a woman mistakenly drove into Lake Virginia.

A handful of students witnessed the car accident at Dinky Dock, near Sutton Place Apartments.

A middle-aged woman was seen driving out of the Dinky Dock parking lot, when her GPS allegedly led her off of the boat launch and into the lake at approximately 9 p.m. on Feb. 6. 

The loud splash of her car turned the heads of students nearby, one being Hutton Yenor (‘21).

The Rollins basketball player was being dropped off at Sutton Place Apartments by his sister when he saw the Mercedes SUV run through a stop sign and turn toward the lake.

Yenor said the driver drove off of the boat ramp and into the lake. Since the water near the boat ramp is fairly shallow, her car was not fully submerged.

“I ran back up to my sister’s car, who [was] now at the stoplight, and I told her that someone just drove in the lake,” said Yenor.

Concerned, Yenor got back into his sister’s car to drive closer to the lake, and upon return, got into the lake to check on the horrified driver. Yenor’s sister immediately called 911. 

“The lights were still on in the car and I wanted to make sure she was okay but I didn’t want to open the door because I was nervous that it would flood the car,” said Yenor.

The student-athlete said he focused on one thing: keeping the frantic driver calm. He said the woman did not speak English and was unable to communicate intelligibly. 

“I realized that she still had her seatbelt on and she was quite frankly hysterical,” he said.

Ultimately, Yenor understood that he would not be able to get her out of the car. Floating outside the driver’s door, Yenor waited patiently with the driver for Winter Park Police and Fire and Rescue to arrive.

“I just wanted to help however I could,” said Yenor. “I wanted to tell her that help was on the way and just wanted to stay with her until the cops arrived.” 

Within five minutes, authorities arrived and thanked him and took over the situation. 

Winter Park Police were able to get the driver out safely, and called a tow truck to remove the SUV from the lake. 

Yenor asked Winter Park Police what would happen to the driver, but authorities did not give him any more information. 

Access to the Winter Park Police Department’s crash report has not been granted to The Sandspur due to a state statute. Therefore, it is unclear whether the incident is still under investigation or whether the driver faced any possible charges.

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