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West Palm Beach woman meets men who rescued her from sinking car

Posted at 11:38 AM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 19:41:07-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A West Palm Beach woman whose car plunged into a canal last month met some of the men on Wednesday who jumped in the water to save her life.

29-year-old Pierra Jean said she was driving home from work on Jan. 28 when she blacked out and her car crashed into a canal off Australian Avenue.

"I just thank God for giving me another chance at life," said Jean.

Three Good Samaritans who saw Jean in danger jumped into the water and worked together to save her life.

Two of those heroes, Emil Castellanos and Tom Fitzgerald, came together to meet Jean on Wednesday.

Fitzgerald doesn't even live in the area. He lives in St. Petersburg but was here on businesses last month when he saw all of the cars and commotion at the canal.

"Someone needed help. It just kicked in," said Fitzgerald.

Castellanos and Fitzgerald recounted the details to WPTV of seeing Jean in her sinking car and working together to save her.

"I went to the other side, to the seat back, to try to pull her up again. It's not working. And that's when the water started raising and that's when I went down and clicked the button," said Castellanos.

"She looked up and I saw her eyes looking at me like, she was looking at me and her eyes were just, like, help," said Fitzgerald. "There were no second thoughts, even when she looked at me with those eyes like, save me."

"I thank God for them saving me. I just really do," said Jean.

Jean, who works in the cafeteria at Everglades Elementary School in suburban West Palm Beach, has a 7-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter.

"At that moment, I really could have been going away from my mom, my family, my kids," Jean said. "I can spend another day with my children."

West Palm Beach Police Chief Frank Adderley presented all three with the department's challenge coin on Wednesday.

"You saved a life here in our city," Chief Adderley said.

And while Castellanos and Fitzgerald said they didn't do anything special, Jean knows differently, now that she has a second chance at life.

"I don’t know what other words to say. Y'all were more than heroes to me. Y'all were may angels because no heroes would have been able to do what you all did," Jean told the men. "God put us in the right place at the right time."

Jean said she's still doing follow up tests at the doctor, but so far she does not know what caused her to black out that day.

Meanwhile, she and her heroes already have plans to meet again for lunch on Thursday.