By Elizabeth Hur
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Frayed nerves as another car goes plunging into the Schuylkill River off Kelly Drive – but this was no accident.
Investigators say the car left the road and veered into the water just before 6 p.m. Monday. It all happened where Kelly Drive meets Fountain Green Drive right along the river.
For the joggers and rowers who witnessed the woman drive her car into the Schuylkill River, if what they saw wasn’t shocking enough they could not believe what they heard.
Tyson Newby, Eyewitness recalled, “Don’t save me. Don’t help me. Leave, go away.”
Meredith Mariani with the Fairmount Rowing Club added, “Very adamant about not wanting our help but you know what she was going to get it so we sandwiched her between our launches.”
Mariani and fellow coaches, on the water with their rowing clubs at the time, tried to keep the woman calm until rescuers arrived. When the woman was eventually safely pulled out of the water, police confirmed what the Good Samaritans heard and explained the driver intended to harm herself.
Chief Inspector Joe Sullivan with the Philadelphia Police Department said, “This was an intentional act so that is why we had to continue to search to confirm there was no one else in the vehicle. Goes without saying, I understand that someone could be in crisis but this was an incredibly reckless act to commit here.”
Newby said, “Thirty feet from me, if I would have turned around just a few seconds later and walked right there, she might have hit me.”
Newby is concerned because it happened at the peak of rush hour along Kelly Drive when many joggers hit the trails.
“We’re very lucky there were no boats around,” Mariani added.
What alarmed Mariani is knowing this is the third time in the last five months she witnessed a car has plunge into the Schuylkill. A 73-year-old man died as a result in March and in April, a 31-year-old man was killed while his friend survived.
Mariani said, “The coaches , we look at each other and we’re thinking what’s going on here? First of all, second of all, is this something we all need to be prepared for as a safety issue for our athletes?”
Meanwhile, police said they are not releasing the driver’s name. They did tell us she is a 45-year-old mother from Darby Borough who was listed in good condition at Hahnemann University Hospital Monday night. Police say they will keep her hospitalized for 72 hours so that she may undergo psychiatric evaluation.