Woman dies after crashing minivan into St. Petersburg pond, landing on submerged car

March 10, 2014 

A woman died early Monday after crashing this minivan into a retention pond off 28th St. N. near Roosevelt Boulevard, authorities said. BAY NEWS 9 PHOTO

ST. PETERSBURG -- A St. Petersburg woman died early Monday after she crashed her minivan in a retention pond off 28th Street North near Roosevelt Boulevard, authorities said.

Jennifer Lee Wolfe, 35, was driving home from the Pinellas Park Wal-Mart store around 12:36 a.m., traveling north on 28th Street North, when she continued straight as the road veered right, St. Petersburg police said.

She hit a metal sign post in the median, crossed the southbound lanes of the road and and went off the west side of the road. The van continued down an embankment and entered a retention pond, police said.

The van's momentum carried it toward the north end of the pond, and it began sinking.

Wolfe called 911 at that point, but the phone disconnected and attempts to call back were unsuccessful. Officials said 911 operators were not able to speak to Wolfe, and a precise location for the call could not be determined.

Officials said Wolfe then called her husband, James, and told him she had been run off the road by another car and was in the water off 28th Street.

The husband called 911 at 12:57 a.m. and drove to the site, along with units from the Pinellas Park Police Department and Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office sent a helicopter up, and the minivan was spotted fully submerged in the pond at 1:36 a.m. Officers and a deputy went into the water to get Wolfe from the van. She was unconscious, and so crews performed CPR on her before taking her to Northside Hospital, where she died.

Divers got a surprise when they entered the water: They discovered that the van was sitting on top of another vehicle that had been in the pond for some time. The other vehicle in the pond was empty, authorities said.

The crash remains under investigation.

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