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SUV ends up in family pool; driver arrested in DUI

PORT RICHEY

The sudden, thunderous, splashing crash outside their bedroom sent Bill and Laura Haggerty from deep sleep to instant fright.

Bill Haggerty rushed outside to see what had happened while his wife called 911. He found a maroon sport utility vehicle with its back end submerged in his swimming pool.

The driver, who appeared unharmed, opened her door and promptly fell into the water.

It was about 11:30 Wednesday night.

Haggerty helped the woman out and asked if she was okay. She stank of alcohol, he said, and had a glazed look in her eyes.

And after just a moment, she said she wanted to leave.

"I said, 'Ma'am, you can't leave, your truck is in my pool,'" Haggerty, 39, said. "She said, 'I can get it out!'"

But then she got up and bolted through the sliding glass doors into Haggerty's house on Water Oak Drive in Timber Oaks, he said.

Haggerty, in pajamas with no shoes on, followed the woman but gave up when he saw her crawling through some hedges. Sirens were wailing.

"To be honest, I didn't think she was going to get very far," he said.

The Florida Highway Patrol arrested Nicole Renee Carlin, 36, after she was spotted trying to enter another house on a nearby street, a report said.

Carlin, of 7525 Fox Bloom Drive, was charged with trespassing, DUI, leaving the scene of an accident and DUI with property damage. She was being held in the Pasco County jail in Land O'Lakes in lieu of $1,500 bail.

From the look of the damage, Haggerty said, it appeared Carlin drove up Ponderosa Avenue, which ends at his back yard, careened across the grass and through the pool screen.

Carlin told a trooper she didn't know where she had been drinking but that "she had way too many," the report says.

The commotion woke up the Haggertys' 10-year-old daughter. Their son, 8, didn't stir.

"We woke him up later (and said) that we had a truck in the pool," Haggerty said. "He didn't believe us."

Haggerty said it scares him to think about such a thing happening on a Saturday afternoon when his kids could be in the pool. He said he's glad no one was hurt, including Carlin.

The family moved to Port Richey from Boca Raton in July. Bill Haggerty works at Toys "R" Us. His wife works at Target. They're renting the Water Oak Drive house and had hoped to one day buy it.

He's not so sure now.

Then again, the odds of such a calamity happening even once are so long: "Lightning never strikes ... whatever the saying is," said Haggerty.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at moorhead@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6245.

SUV ends up in family pool; driver arrested in DUI 04/24/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 10:18am]
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