Hero honored for plunging into Boca canal to save woman from sinking car

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Jul 08, 2021 4:28 PM

Bystander Shawn Turner led the rescue of a woman inside a sinking SUV in a canal outside Boca Raton.

BOCA RATON — Shawn Turner didn’t stop to think about his own safety when his son spotted a car in a canal. Turner pulled over, leaped into the water — and emerged with an unconscious woman in his arms.

And now the plumber from Boca Raton been recognized for his heroism. He’s one of just 18 people to receive the Carnegie Medal this year, one of the highest awards a civilian can earn in the U.S. and Canada. Turner is one of only seven people from South Florida to get the award in the past 10 years.

“It’s awesome,” Turner, 34, said Wednesday. “I’m very grateful that they recognized what I did and it’s just cool to get appreciation.” He said he often thinks about that Sunday in February 2020.

He was driving along Military Trail and Camino Real in Boca when his son Timothy spotted the car in the canal.

Turner said he saw other people at the canal bank, but no one appeared to be trying to help. He pulled over, took off his pants and jumped into the canal.

The car was occupied. Inside; an unconscious woman. “She’s out cold,” Turner yelled. He dived head first into the car moments before it started sinking.

Turner’s son began to shout, “Dad, Dad, jump out!” Bystanders joined in yelling, “Get out!”

Others jumped into the canal to help Turner. Moments later, he emerged from the water with a woman in his arm.

The woman was later identified as Molly Pedrone, who has had epileptic seizures for years.

She told WPTV-Ch. 5 that a seizure came on suddenly that day. “I’m so thankful for Shawn’s help and the help of the other bystanders,” she said at the time.

Turner said he uses the the encounter as a lesson for his son.

“Him staying off his phone saved someone’s life because I wouldn’t have seen it. I was driving right by,” he said. “All the time time I remind him, ‘buddy, you pointed out something that most people would have driven right on by.’ … I could have never went into action without him being observant.”

But when it mattered most, Timothy finally pulled out his phone to record his dad’s heroism. That video quickly went viral with thousands of combined views on YouTube and hundreds of thousands of views on social media.

Now employed by the city of Boca Raton as a municipal plumber, Turner was honored last month by Mayor Scott Singer who said, “Shawn, what you did exemplifies the best of, not only what we hope for our employees and our residents, but for humanity.”

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission chooses people nominated by someone else who “enter mortal danger” to save or try to save someone. The previous recipients from South Florida are:

  • James Hobbs, of Hollywood, died trying to save Nancy Alvarez from drowning in Dania Beach in 2010
  • Marcos Diaz, of Miami, helped save Rolando Riverón from drowning in Key Largo in 2012
  • Edward Garlinghouse, of Boynton Beach, died after helping to save two 10-year-old girls, Kimberly Waldridge and Jasmine Chapman, from drowning in Palm Beach Shores in 2013
  • Steven Pippin, of West Palm Beach, rescued Bruce Barkdoll, a police officer, from an assault after Barkdoll responded to a car accident involving a delirious man in Royal Palm Beach in 2013
  • William Ramirez, of Pembroke Pines, rescued Rosny Obas, a police officer, from an assault in Miami in 2015. He drove his van between a pinned-down Obas and a gunman who was shooting at the officer
  • Kendall Flowers, of Miami, drowned after helping save a 16-year-old boy from drowning, in Cutler Bay in 2018
  • Christian Alexander Burgos, of Miami, died saving a 9-year-old boy and attempting to save Elvia Venegas from drowning in Biscayne Bay Miami in 2019

Turner said he didn’t know his son was recording video at the time and didn’t rescue Pedrone for any award or recognition. In addition to the medal, winners receive a check for $5,500.

“I’m just happy that she’s alive and doing well,” he said.

Breaking News Alerts Newsletter

As it happens

Get updates on the coronavirus pandemic and other news as it happens with our free breaking news email alerts.

Pedrone said she didn’t know anything about the award until the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission reached out to her, but she said she was “super excited to be a part of it.”

“I can’t think of anyone more deserving,” she said. “He deserves everything because he saved my life.”

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

VIP Societe
Cocktails & Coworkers
Jackets Required
MILF Society
The List