Passenger Dies after Man Drives Car into Intracoastal Waterway, Pinellas Sheriff Says
The Pinellas Sheriff’s Office is investigating the St. Pete Beach crash.
ST. PETE BEACH – A woman died early Thursday (July 14) morning after the car in which she was riding plunged into the water at Blind Pass, according to the Pinellas Sheriff’s Office.
Mary Ellen Dyer, 66, of Gulfport, was found dead in the intracoastal at Treasure Island on Thursday afternoon, deputies said. The driver, Robert Schermerhorn, 69, of Sarasota, was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The crash happened about 3 a.m. at 677 75th Ave. N in St. Pete Beach. Deputies said Schermerhorn was driving his 2012 Mercedes Benz EL 350 west on 75th Avenue approaching the intersection of Sunset Way. He failed to make the left southbound turn onto Sunset Way, crashed into a wooden fence, and drove over the seawall into the intracoastal waterway at Blind Pass.
Schermerhorn escaped from the sinking vehicle and swam to safety before the vehicle sank and was completely submerged. Ms. Dyer never surfaced, deputies said.
When deputies arrived, Schermerhorn told them that Ms. Dyer was likely trapped inside the submerged vehicle. Deputies searched for the vehicle and called for help to try rescuing her. The marine unit and dive team found the car at the bottom of Blind Pass in about 25 feet of water. The vehicle was pulled from the water but Ms. Dyer was not inside, deputies said. Marine deputies continued searching.
Deputies said they received a report at about 2:22 p.m. of a body found floating near 10077 Gulf Blvd. in Treasure Island. Deputies confirmed that it was Ms. Dyer.
Investigators believe that impairment may have been a factor in the crash. The investigation is continuing.
For information about the Pinellas Sheriff’s Office, go to pcsoweb.com.
Pinellas Sheriff | Mary Ellen Dyer | St. Pete Beach | Blind Pass | Traffic Crash | TB Reporter
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