Mother dies, toddler hospitalized after car crashes into Deerfield Beach canal

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A woman has died and her 3-year-old daughter has been hospitalized after, authorities say, their car crashed into a canal in Deerfield Beach, Friday morning.

According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol, the accident, which also involved the child’s father, took place near Interstate 95 and Southwest 10th Street, at around 11 a.m. Investigators said the woman somewhat lost control of the vehicle, went off the road and plunged into the water.

Officials said as many as 20 people pulled off the highway to render aid to the victims. “There’s people getting out of their cars, parking alongside the road there, getting out of their cars, rushing down to go and help,” said witness Jason Jeffrey.

Dramatic cellphone video captured good Samaritans going into the water to try and rescue the three occupants.

“There were a lot of people who were bystanders that stopped to see if they could assist,” said FHP Sgt. John Baker.

The footage shows the 42-year-old father getting out of the black Hyundai Elantra safely with the help of good Samaritans. However, investigators said, he was unable to pull his two family members from inside the car.

Moments later, the good Samaritans are seen making a human chain to try to pull the sedan as close to shore as possible so they could reach the 42-year-old woman, Cynthia Hutchinson and her child, Aubrey Herndon, who were still trapped inside.

7News cameras were rolling as the child’s car seat was pulled from the water.

“With the vehicle being on its roof in the canal, they had to get the chain and a strap to actually pull the car up onto its side so that they could try to locate the child and the female victim that were in the car,” said Baker.

Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesperson Mike Jachles said, in situations like these, time is of the essence. “Every second counts. The sooner those victims can get out of the vehicle, the sooner we can begin advanced life support,” he said. “The sooner we can get them to definitive care hospitals.”

Paramedics transported Hutchinson by ground to Broward Health North in critical condition. Authorities say she later died at 6:52 a.m., Saturday.

Herndon was airlifted to Broward Health Medical Center, where she is now in critical but stable condition.

Traffic cameras captured the moments I-95 was shut down so a helicopter could land in the middle of the roadway to transport the child.

“It’s just heartbreaking,” said Jeffrey. “I mean, two days before Christmas, for something like this to happen, it’s just really tragic.”

Authorities shut down I-95 in both directions while officials worked on the scene, for almost two hours. 7Skyforce HD captured the backed-up traffic on I-95.

7News cameras later captured crews working to remove the vehicle out of the water.

I-95 has since reopened.

There is no word as to what caused the car to go off the highway.

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