Winter Haven Fire Department personnel rescued a driver from a car that went into a pond Saturday morning. The man later died.
Firefighters got a call about 6:07 a.m. about the crash in the area of Lucerne Park Road and Highway 27. When they arrived, they found a vehicle almost completely submerged in a retention pond off the roadway.
Lt. Justin Riner and firefighter Jon Hinkle jumped into the 20-foot-deep water where the vehicle was sinking. With only the trunk lid visible on the surface, Riner was able to punch the back window out of the car and kick the glass away to get in the vehicle.
As his foot entered the vehicle compartment, he felt a body and immediately dove through the opening. He was able to pull the unresponsive driver, Hakeem McGhee, 26, to the surface. He and Hinkle took McGhee to the shore of the pond for treatment.
McGhee was airlifted to Lakeland Regional Health. He later died.
Riner and Hinkle went back to ensure there were no other occupants inside of the vehicle. After finding it was empty, a Dundee fire squad attached a winch to the vehicle and pulled it out of the water.
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