PAHOKEE, Fla. - After a long night, deputies say a Pahokee woman dozed off and woke up to find herself in a canal.
It happened Friday morning off Muck City Road near Connors Highway, and deputies say it could've ended with a loss of life.
The reason it didn't is because of veteran Palm Beach County Sheriff's Deputy Frank Mayo.
Full of muck and lodged into a canal, the Pontiac was all the 36-year-old Pahokee woman had to hold on to as she feared for her life.
"If she lost that car or panicked and lost that handle on that car, she sinks like a stone," deputy Mayo said. "I can tell you that. She was absolutely correct when she said she can't swim because she cannot swim."
The woman called 9-1-1 at 7:39 a.m. Friday morning.
Minutes later the car was quickly sinking.
Deputies say she was working at an unknown Target store overnight on Black Friday.
"We believe she fell asleep at the wheel, but we're not positive yet," another Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy said.
At 7:45 a.m., after the caller was said to be screaming for help, that's when deputy sheriff Mayo was positive he needed to get there.
He was five miles away from where she was on Muck City Road.
"I don't think she would've made it had we not been that close to her," deputy sheriff Mayo said.
When he got to her, he says he threw off his gun belt and jumped in.
"I tried to come up behind her, but then she spun around and then she grabbed me," Mayo said. "I basically talked to her, and had her calm down, and reassured her that I wasn't going to leave her, and nothing was going to happen to her."
With the help of two other deputies they soon pulled her to safety.
"I'm just glad it came out the way it did," a deputy on the scene said.
This is the fourth time Deputy Mayo has pulled someone out of a canal and saved a life.
Target's corporate office responded to the incident by saying, "Target cares for the well-being of our team members. Our thoughts are with the team member and her family and we wish her a speedy recovery."
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