By Mary Hladky
Shawn Turner was driving on Military Trail near Camino Real on Feb. 23 when he saw a white Kia Soul partly submerged in a canal.
The city municipal services employee didn’t hesitate, stripping off his sweatpants and jumping into the water.
Turner quickly saw that Molly Pedrone, 34, was incapacitated behind the wheel. He pushed down the window, squeezed into the car and released her seatbelt. As the car sank into the water, he and another good Samaritan got her out and to shore.
The City Council recognized his “selfless actions” on March 9, presenting him with a special commendation as city staff and the audience gave him a standing ovation.
“I am happy to report because of Shawn’s heroic actions, the driver is doing well today,” said city Facilities Manager Wayne Anderson. “Shawn, I couldn’t be more proud of you. You saved a life. Thank you for your dedication and making us all proud.”
Mayor Scott Singer said: “You put yourself in harm’s way without regard to your own life, and that deserves some special recognition.”
Turner could not be reached for comment after the ceremony. But he described the experience to CNN and WPBF 25 News.
“Scary,” Turner told WPBF. “The water is coming in all around you, and it’s brown water, and I’m in a black interior car. Scariest moments of my life.”
As the car started sinking, Turner’s two sons let him know his life was in danger even as one of them shot video.
“Hurry up! Dad! Dad! Get out! Dad! Jump out,” they yelled.
Pedrone regained consciousness as Palm Beach County Fire Rescue arrived. She was briefly hospitalized.
She told CNN she has been epileptic for 13 years, but her last seizure was two years ago. She does not remember the incident or her rescue.
“Shawn is the hero,” she told CNN. “I’m so very thankful he did what he did. We should all be more like that, ready to jump into action.”
Turner says he isn’t a hero. “I didn’t do it for the appreciation. I didn’t do it for stardom or fame,” he told WPBF. “I just did it because I saw a bad situation and I knew somebody was in need of help.”