Passers-by rescued an elderly woman, her daughter and a grandson after a wall of fast-moving water stalled their car at the Fort Pearce River crossing at Bloomington Hills.
Jeff Worthington, 26, his wife, Lori, and their son, Jeffrey, 4, who were returning to their home in Bloomington Hills, happened on the scene at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, soon after a car driven by Vera Blake, 69, St. George, stalled in rising waters on the crossing.When the Worthingtons arrived, Vera Blake's daughter, Cindy Blake Van Pelt, 31, of Layton, was trying to carry her son, Matt, 5, across the concrete flood control crossing, which was then covered with about three feet of water.
Vera Blake was still seated behind the steering wheel, waiting for help.
"The younger woman was about halfway across the bridge, which dips down and crosses the river in that area. She was trying to carry her son out of the water. I helped her bring her son out and then went back and talked to her mother. By then the car had moved about six inches in the water. I told her it was time to . . . see if we could get her out, Worthington said.
"We got the door open, and I got her out, but were making slow progress in the gushing water. By that time the daughter returned. With her help and the help of a young man about 18 or 19 who happened on the scene we held on to her (Blake) and walked her out of the water.
"It took about another 5 or 6 minutes for the vehicle to slide over the edge and into the river," Worthington said.
Within minutes the car was floating downstream in the river, which normally runs about 1 to 2 feet under the culvert. The water was then about 5 feet deep.
Worthington, who is 6 feet 3 inches tall, said water was just below his waist as he helped the three to safety.