Woman Who Stopped To Get Gas Dead After Car Plunges Into Westchester County Creek

Firefighters search a canal in the Pelham Manor area for victims of a vehicle crash.

Firefighters search a canal in the Pelham Manor area for victims of a vehicle crash.

Photo Credit: James O'Toole

A woman who was stopped at a gas pump in Westchester County was dead moments later after her vehicle suddenly accelerated and ended up in an area creek.

The incident took place around 7:30 a.m., Friday, June 4, in Pelham Manor, according to Mount Vernon Fire Chief Kim R. Odindo.

According to Odindo, the woman can be seen on cameras at the BJs gas station in Pelham Manor at a gas pump. At one point she walks into the store and then back to the vehicle. 

The next thing that happened is the vehicle, a gray Jeep Cherokee accelerated, went through a fence, and plunged at least 20 feet down a ravine and into Eastchester Creek.

Pelham Manor Police Officer John Luiso, one of the first officers to arrive, jumped into Eastchester Creek and reached the vehicle, but was unable to remove the driver from the locked car. He is currently receiving medical treatment at a local hospital, the Pelham Fire Department said.

The Pelham Manor Fire Department led the effort under the direction of Fire Chief Joseph Ruggiero. 

The department was assisted by Mount Vernon Fire Department and the FDNY who worked to remove the woman from the vehicle and search for any other possible victims.

Odindo said the efforts were hampered by the murky waters that are near an industrial area. Firefighters at one point had to stop their efforts to receive tetanus shots due to the presumed contaminated waters.

The waters and the angle of the vehicle also made the rescue effort harder, the chief said.

Once the woman was removed from the vehicle, divers from the FDNY searched the entire area for a couple of hours in an attempt to locate any additional victims, but none were found.

The identity of the woman was not released pending notification of the family. 

An autopsy will be conducted by the Westchester County Medical Examiner's Office.

Police blocked off the road for hours as effort got underway to pull the woman and the vehicle out of the canal.

During the operation, the drawbridge of Pelham Parkway was raised to allow three FDNY tugboats into the canal to pull out the car. 

A tow truck assisted the boats in pulling the vehicle out of the canal, Odindo said.

This continues to be a developing story. Check back to the Daily Voice for updates.

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