Woman arrested for DUI after being rescued from Cape Coral canal

Reporter: Samantha Johns Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:

Cape Coral police say the woman rescued from a car that had crashed into a Cape Coral canal on Saturday is facing drunk driving charges.

Police say Flabia Paredes-Lamas, 30, was arrested after she crashed into a canal on the 900-Block of NE 12th Street just after 5:30 a.m. Saturday.

It’s quiet now, but on Saturday morning, it was chaos. “Copy a car is in the canal. The car is filling up with water.”

Cape Coral canal scene. CREDIT: Cape Coral Fire Department

First responders rushed to the canal and saw a woman in her car submerged underwater. Two police officers tried to open her back window, but it wouldn’t budge. When a firefighter arrived, he had exactly what they needed.

“He was able to break the window. He was able to pull the single female occupant out of the car. And from there, he swam her to the shore,” said Cape Coral Battalion Fire Chief Eric Hawkins.

Those heroic actions are all part of standard training for firefighters in Cape Coral. Hawkins said it starts with an eight-hour rescue swimming class.

“Every two years, firefighters have to go through refresher training for the rescue swimmer course, where we practice all of the line signals. We practice diving all the swim patterns.”

That training saved the life of Paredes-Lamas.

“When we pulled her out of the water, she was unconscious and gasping for air. She was choking pretty, pretty hard. So, we believe she had inhaled water,” said Hawkins.

Police say Paredes-Lamas was taken to the hospital, and an officer injured his hand while helping pull her from the car.

Cape Coral police say the woman was drunk when she crashed her car into the canal. She is facing a charge of DUI and has been released on bond.

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