Police: Driver pulled from canal after attempting to elude deputy
A Cape Coral woman whose car went into a canal after, officials say, she evaded a deputy trying to stop her for speeding was saved when deputies and a police officer pulled her unconscious from the water early Sunday. Jay Alexandra Harris, 24, 1730 N.E. 21st St., was charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, reckless driving and property damage.
Harris, who lists her employment as Abuse Counseling and Treatment, was released from Lee County Jail later Sunday after posting $2,250 in bonds.
Accdrding to a Lee County Sheriff’s Office report:
Just before 3 a.m. Sunday, Deputy Glenn Jones was at the west end of Cape Coral Bridge when he saw a car traveling in excess of the 45 mph posted speed limit. He clocked the car on radar at 72 mph. Jones followed the woman to the Cape Coral Parkway/Del Prado Boulevard area where he tried to stop it.
The car, a 2010 Toyota Camry, turned north onto Del Prado, turned around for southbound Del Prado, got into the turn lane for westbound Cape Coral Parkway while accelerating and passing another car in the intersection.
Jones tuned off his cruiser’s emergency lights and turned west onto Cape Coral Parkway. Just east of Coronado Parkway, he saw the Toyota again, this time traveling west on Cape Coral Parkway. He followed without turning on his emergency lights until Cpl. Matthew Bonsall and Sgt. David Murphy arrived. At the west end of Cape Coral Parkway at Beach Parkway, they tried to stop the car, but it turned around and drove away. Deputies again turned off their emergency lights.
At Cape Coral Parkway and Chiquita Boulevard, Cape Coral Police Officer T. Whidden saw the car turn onto Chiquita and travel south in the northbound lane. The car crossed back over the median and the lights went out. He also saw a puff of smoke.
At the end of Chiquita Boulevard, the car disappeared and Lee deputies and Cape Coral officers looked for it.
Bonsall saw the car sinking in a canal. Bonsall, Jones and Cape Officer Sean McCreary, jumped into the canal. McCreary broke a window and the officers and deputies pulled the unconscious woman from the car.
Medics placed her on backboard while deputies and officers held her and kept her from drowning. Jones smelled alcohol at that time, officials said.
Cape Coral Fire Rescue divers searched the canal to ensure no one else was in the car.
“This was yet another example of public safety professionals demonstrating their level of training and preparation,” Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott said. “My staff and I remain proud to serve and focused on the mission.”
On the way to the hospital, Harris claimed to have had a heart attack, but a few minutes later Deputy Selena Lee was notified she was faking the illness, according to police reports.
Harris’ blood alcohol content was 0.174, the report states. In Florida a driver is presumed to be impaired at 0.08 or above.