Deputy saves sleepy Black Friday worker

PAHOKEE, FL (WFLX)  After a long night, deputies say a Pahokee woman dozed off and woke up to find herself in a canal.

It happened around 8 a.m. Friday morning off Muck City Road near Connors Highway, and deputies say it could've ended deadly.

The reason it didn't is because of long-time Palm Beach County Sheriff's Deputy Frank Mayo.

Full of muck and lodged into a canal, the Pontiac was all the 36-year-old Pahokee woman had to hold on to as she feared for her life.

"If she lost that car or panicked and lost that handle on that car, she sinks like a stone," Deputy Mayo said. "I can tell you that. She was absolutely correct when she said she can't swim because she cannot swim."

Dispatch records show that was known within 15 seconds after the woman's 9-1-1 call at 7:39 a.m. Friday morning. 

Minutes later, it was known the car was quickly sinking and she had just left work.

Deputies say she was working at an unknown Target store overnight on black Friday. 

"We believe she fell asleep at the wheel, but we're not positive yet," another Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy said.

At 7:45 a.m., after the caller was said to be screaming for help, that's when Deputy Sheriff Mayo was positive, he needed to get there.

He was five miles away from where she was on Muck City Road.

"I don't think she would've made it had we not been that close to her," Deputy Sheriff Mayo said.

When he got to her, he says he threw off his gun belt and jumped in.

"I tried to come up behind her, but then she spun around and then she grabbed me," Deputy Sheriff Mayo said. "I basically talked to her, and had her calm down, and reassured her that I wasn't going to leave her, and nothing was going to happen to her."

He wasn't lying either, because with the help of two other deputies they soon pulled her to safety, literally saving the woman's life.

"I'm just glad it came out the way it did," a deputy on the scene said.

This is the fourth time Deputy Mayo has pulled someone out of a canal and saved a life.

Target's corporate office responded to the incident by saying, "Target cares for the well-being of our team members. Our thoughts are with the team member and her family and we wish her a speedy recovery."