Colonial Heights firefighters mourning death of woman who made fatal wrong turn into creek

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Posted at 11:14 PM, Dec 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-19 14:58:47-05

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- At Colonial Heights Fire Station 2, firefighters are reeling from a tragic event over the weekendthat left a Chesterfield County woman dead.

“This is a very tragic incident that will definitely remain with us for some time,” says Lt. Troy Allen.

“The old cliche that it is a family is true, especially here,” adds Battalion Chief Steven Gillam. “We’re a very tight-knit group.”

On Saturday night, around 9 p.m., Colonial Heights Fire and EMS crews, along with Virginia State Police and Chesterfield first responders were called to the 400 block of White Bank Road for a report of a car submerged in the Swift Creek, off the Appomattox River.

“At that time, the tide was going out. It was difficult to see because the water was murky and of course, with it being night and down at an area that wasn’t lit at all,” says firefighter Andrew Lyles.

After a two-hour extensive search, crews were able to locate the car, more than 100 yards from the dock and in ten to twelve feet of water.

Tragically, 56-year-old Patricia Grant of Chesterfield was pulled from the car and pronounced dead at the scene.

Investigators believe she was leaving an event at the nearby Moose Lodge and took a wrong turn down a road leading to the dock and boat ramp.

A friend who was following behind her, saw her drive the car into the water and quickly disappear as the tide was rushing out.

On Monday, firefighters returned to the scene to place flowers on the dock and pay their respects.

“We would like the family and friends of Ms. Grant to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them during this very difficult time,” Allen says.

While first responders say this situation is a rare occurrence, they urge drivers to be prepared for all types of emergency situations by carrying a small device that breaks windows.

“It’s called a center punch, and we always carry them on our fire units,” says firefighter Krystle Hester. “A center punch that’s easily accessible in your vehicle for this type of event and a seat belt cutter that’s easily accessible could potentially save your life in the event that this ever happens to anyone else.”

Chesterfield Police are leading the investigation. They say they are waiting on results from the Medical Examiner and toxicology reports, but don’t suspect foul play.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email to send a tip.

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