Four dead after car plunges into Southlake pond

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by MONIKA DIAZ / WFAA-TV and JASON TRAHAN / The Dallas Morning News

wfaa.com

Posted on December 26, 2009 at 4:45 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 28 at 12:08 AM

Pond rescue

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SOUTHLAKE —  Four people died Saturday after their car flipped over into a six-foot-deep pond in Southlake, police said.

Just before 11:20 a.m. Saturday, the Toyota sedan drove through the intersection of Lonesome Dove Road and Burney Lane, crashed into a metal fence, hit a tree, and landed upside-down in a pond on the grounds of a mansion.

"They came through this stop sign and, from eyewitness accounts, they never slowed down," said neighbor Byron Copeland.

Copeland said the residents of the property raced to try and help. "They were able to get one lady out, and the other three they weren't able to pry the door open to get them out," he said.

Southlake police and paramedics arrived about three minutes later and dove into the water. They rescued one person, and the Grapevine Fire Department dive team helped pull out the others. One was taken to a hospital by air ambulance, and the others were taken by ground.

Monty Hardy, 56, of Southlake and Hadassah Vance, 35, of Euless, died at Baylor Regional Medical Center in Grapevine on Saturday.

Wendy Akion, 38, of Irving and Sharon Ransom, 56, of Grapevine, died early Sunday morning at the same hospital.

Friends said all four were Jehovah's Witnesses and attended the same church in Grapevine.

Police weren't clear on exactly what led to the tragedy.   The car involved was a 2008 Toyota Avalon, among the models recalled last
month over concerns about gas pedals getting stuck on floor mats and causing sudden acceleration.

"It could be anything from a vehicle malfunction to a driver's error; we don't know," said Southlake police spokesman Officer Roderick Page.

WFAA-TV photojournalist Tim Auman and reporter Jonathan Betz contributed to this story.

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