It was an ordinary day for Shawn Turner and his kids as they were driving home along Military Trail on the morning of February 23. However, all this was about to change when his 9-year-old son Timmy suddenly yelled from the backseat. He alerted him that there was a car floating in the canal they were passing by.
Shawn immediately pulled off onto the shoulder near the Boca Raton canal. The 33-year-old dad rushed out of his vehicle and saw a woman behind the wheel in the sinking car. Knowing that there was no time to waste, Shawn quickly took off his sweatpants and jumped into the water.
He swam up to the window and confirmed that the woman, later identified as Molly Pedrone, was unconscious. She was still buckled in as her white Kia Soul filled with water. A woman also jumped in to assist with the rescue.
“She’s out cold!” Shawn yelled.
He shot his hand through the cracked window to roll it all the way down and launched his body halfway across the front seat. Shawn struggled to unbuckle Molly’s seatbelt. Just then, a man later identified as Adam Gunn dived into the water and quickly swam toward’s the driver’s side window.
By then, the car was close to being fully submerged. Shawn climbed inside to free Molly.
“I was in go mode,” Shawn recalled of the heartstopping moment. “I didn’t know what was going to happen, or how fast it would happen. I just reacted. . . . Somebody had to act.”
Shawn lifted Molly out of her seat so that Adam could pull her through the driver’s side window. Because of his weight, the car started sinking faster. His 14-year-old son, who was filming the rescue, yelled in panic, “Dad, jump out! Get out!”
Just as the car’s entire front was underwater, Shawn’s head emerged from the surface. He, the woman, and Adam carried Molly to the shore. As they were bringing her to the bank, Molly opened her eyes, looking disoriented.
“I told her to relax, that she was in an accident and that her car went into the water,” Shawn said.
However, Molly had no recollection of the whole rescue, it was when she got in the hospital that she understood everything that had happened.
The 34-year-old was driving home from a work meeting that Sunday thinking about doing some chores when she suddenly when she suffered from a seizure. The attack rendered her unconscious, and that’s when her car came crashing into the canal.
Molly started having seizures 13 years ago, but the doctors she consulted never identified what caused it. She has had seven in total and started treating it with medication after the last one knocked her out two years ago.
The drug helped her manage the seizures, but its cost took a toll on her finances. Even with insurance, the medicine cost her $500 a month. She couldn’t get help from her neurologist to find a more affordable alternative, so she weaned herself off – then came the accident.
Molly said that her recent episode was unlike anything she ever had.
“Usually I’ll have a warning before I have a seizure,” she said. “Usually I have enough sense to talk myself through it and go, ‘OK, it’s coming, try and lie down, try and let somebody know.’ But there was no warning. It was just lights out, like somebody just shut the switch off.”
Her memory of the rescue picks back up as she was sitting in the grass along the canal.
“Next thing I know I’m in the water sitting on the bank and someone is asking me if I recognize the picture she was holding,” Molly told CNN. “It was my husband’s senior picture, his parents had given it to us not long ago, but I couldn’t understand why she had it.”
Molly says she is lucky that her injuries were only a few bruises and a black eye, possibly from hitting the steering wheel. The doctors gave her a new seizure medication – one that is cheaper.
Molly and Shawn met on Tuesday, and she says she couldn’t thank him enough and everyone involved in the for what they did for her.
“It was nice to meet him and thank him, because I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for him,” Molly said. “He and Adam are the ones that jumped in and saved me, and they deserve all the praise in the world as far as I’m concerned.”
Watch the video below to witness the dramatic rescue.
If it weren’t for these kind strangers, the situation could have gone much worse. Molly is right; these heroes deserve all the praise for their bravery!