At 4:30 p.m. Tuesday a 51-year-old woman was southbound on Interstate 45 feeder at Lake Robbins. Witnesses stated she had been weaving in her Toyota Rav and all of the sudden veered of the road to the right. She hiy the esplanade, crossed it, hit a curb, went airborne after hitting a stack of plastic pipes. The vehicle continued into Lake Robbins and out over one-hundred feet. into the water. Her vehicle sunk nose first almost immediately leaving just the back window visible. A passerby identified only as Scott ran to the waters edge as someone had been in the water and came back out. He returned to his SUV to recover a jack handle or something to get into the vehicle. Someone gave hi a hammer and he swam back out. Breaking the back glass he was unable to reach her. At that point the SUV went completely under. He went under after it but was unable to see in the murky water. When he surfaced again Woodland’s Firefighters were arriving.
David Bourke, a Milstead Wrecker driver was one of the first on the scene. One of the deputies told him to get his truck into position along with Joe Karnes with Quick Tow in an attempt to winch it out. Other drivers now started arriving and assisting including Boogie with Keith’s , John Whittington with Cody’s, Jason Turner with Cody’s and Jerremy Siiinas with Supreme Towing. As the Woodlands Firefighters arrived he said they pretty much stripped down and got into the frigid water to try to get to the vehicle. The dive team arrived soon after and were able to hook the SUV to Karnes cables. When he winched it to shore EMS opened the door and cut the seat belt. They immediately started CPR. It was now 5:05p.m., almost 35 minutes since she went into the water. They continued CPR at the scene.
As Trooper’s prepared to update the media on the crash and the single fatality EMS got a weak pulse.
The woman was immediately transported to Hermann Woodlands in critical condition. At 7 p.m. she was reported moving but not talking in the Intensive Care Unit. Medics commented on the cold water helping them revive her. It is sometime easy for a child or teen to recover from a drowning in cold water but seldom and adult and especially an older adult.
Submerging the face in water colder than about 21 °C (70 °F) triggers the mammalian diving reflex,, found in mammals, and especially in marine mammals such as whales and seals. This reflex protects the body by putting it into energy saving mode to maximize the time it can stay under water. The strength of this reflex is greater in colder water and has three principal effects:
Bradycardia-a slowing of the heart rate by up to 50% in humans.
Peripheral vasconstriction- the restriction of blood flow to the extremities to increase the blood and oxygen supply to the vital organs, especially the brain.
Blood shift-the shifting of the blood to the thoracic cavity which is the region of the chest between the diaphragm and the neck, to avoid the collapse of the lungs under higher pressure during deeper dives.
The reflex action is automatic and allows both a conscious and an unconscious person to survive longer without oxygen under water than in a comparable situation on dry land. The exact mechanism for this effect has been debated and may be a result of brain cooling similar to the protective effects seen in patients treated with deep hypothermia.
DPS still does not know what caused the vehicle to leave the roadway. There were no contact marks on her SUV. They were hoping to get answers tonight at the hospital.
WAS FOUND ON HER FRONT SEAT