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Elderly woman in Largo fetches friend's car, drives into pond

LARGO — Jeanne Bereznoff was performing a good deed one minute Thursday afternoon. The next, she was on the receiving end of one.

And she might be alive because of it.

"It's just starting to hit me," Bereznoff said Thursday evening in a telephone interview.

When Bereznoff, 85, of Largo left a Largo Women's Club meeting just after 3 p.m. at the Royal Palms senior living community, heavy rain was pelting the parking lot.

Not wanting Jean Halvorsen, a 79-year-old friend who has an artificial leg and uses a walker, to get soaked, Bereznoff offered to fetch her car.

But once in the car, Bereznoff found trouble.

While attempting to back up the 2006 Ford Fusion, the car quickly surged forward, down an embankment and into a large pond that is 30 feet deep and can been seen from East Bay Drive.

"Her car is equipped a little differently," Bereznoff said. "I didn't know that. I didn't handle it."

The car quickly began to sink.

Two bystanders, a man and a woman, acted quickly and jumped into the water to save Bereznoff. The pair removed her from the vehicle and got her to land.

"They were angels," Bereznoff said. "I turned around and thanked them and hugged them."

Bereznoff was shaken, but otherwise is okay, she said.

As local authorities attempted to retrieve the car from the pond, Halvorsen called her friend a "guardian angel."

Bereznoff has a regret: She doesn't know who saved her.

"I never had a chance to get their names," Bereznoff said.

Keith Niebuhr can be reached at kniebuhr@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4156.

Elderly woman in Largo fetches friend's car, drives into pond 07/09/09 [Last modified: Friday, July 10, 2009 5:39pm]
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