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West Orange Times & Observer Saturday, Jun. 23, 2018 3 months ago

Citizens, Ocoee Police respond to crash after car flips into water

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Police and citizens worked together to free the driver of the car, which landed in the water along West Colonial Drive near Blackwood Avenue.
by: Danielle Hendrix Black Tie Editor

OCOEE  A man was hospitalized following a single-vehicle crash on West Colonial Drive in Ocoee that flipped his car and sent it into the water.

Ocoee police responded to the crash around 12:40 p.m. Saturday, June 23. It occurred on the westbound side of the road at the bridge between Blackwood Avenue and Bluford Avenue. 

According to police, the driver appeared to have suffered from a medical issue and lost control of the vehicle. The car left the roadway, flipped and landed upside down in the water.

Some witnesses sprung into action, getting into the water and righting the car. They brought the driver to shore, where several off-duty nurses began CPR and provided medical attention, police said.

Lavar and Nichole Eason were driving eastbound on West Colonial Drive when they said they saw the car go airborne. Nichole called 911 around 12:39 p.m.

“We were heading eastbound and I just happened to look over and I see a Ford Taurus is flying in the air over this bridge here and into the water,” Lavar said. 

Jose Chavez, a contractor performing remodel work on the Chick-fil-A across the street, and five of his coworkers were among the people who jumped in the water.

“We were working here and took a lunch for a little bit but we saw when the car (crashed) and went straight into the lake,” Chavez said. “We saw it and we started running that way and jumped in the water and took the guy from there. Nobody was stopping in the traffic, so we had to run in the traffic.”

Lavar said he watched Chavez and his friends run across the road to assist.

“They’re the ones that ran across traffic — traffic didn’t want to stop, because it was over with, cars just kept going and weren’t able to see what happened,” Lavar said. “They ran across this busy highway and jumped in there and flipped the car over.”

Chavez said they helped flip the car over as someone helped cut the seat belt. Ocoee police officers got in the water to search the car and surrounding water for additional victims. Police say none were located.

Chavez added that he and his coworkers drove from Tampa yesterday to help with the remodel and were supposed to leave last night but for whatever reason stayed longer — they typically do not work Saturdays, he said.

“I heard some people say on the top of the bridge ‘Hey, let it go, let it go, he died already,’ and I said no, heck no,” Chavez said. “We had to see if he had (lived) or not, so we took him out. We weren't thinking about anything. We were only thinking about trying to help somebody survive, you know. We’ve never done something like that. We tried to do a good job, that’s it.”

Ocoee police say the driver’s condition is undetermined at this time and they warmly thank all citizens involved for their involvement and sense of civic and humanitarian duty.

Danielle Hendrix is the Black Tie Editor for all three of Observer Media Group's print publications in Orange County. She is a 2015 graduate of the University of Central Florida, where she earned a bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in world comparative studies. ...

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