COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — An investigation is underway after a car swerved off of a bridge and into the Pawtuxet River in Coventry Tuesday morning.

Crews responded to Sandy Bottom Road around 9:15 a.m. and found the car almost completely submerged in the river.

Coventry Fire Chief Frank Brown tells 12 News three police officers jumped into the water to save the 85-year-old driver, who was the only person in the vehicle.

Brown said the woman was conscious and alert and was able to roll her window down with the assistance of the officers.

Once the woman was out of the vehicle, she was transported to the hospital. Brown said she is expected to be OK.

“Certainly the water is so cold right now and minutes mean everything. The police officers were there right away, all our assets from the fire department side were in service,” Brown said. “We responded with multiple pieces of apparatus along with a boat. We had some assets come in from West Warwick to back us up with baskets and a couple of other things to help us extricate her from the car.”

“Police officers did a great job getting her out of the car. This could have been a different story here this morning,” he continued.

None of the officers or firefighters involved in the rescue efforts were injured.

Brown said in his 28 years as chief in Coventry, he has never seen anything like this.

“She was lucky,” he said. “Good thing it was that time of day and people saw her go in and she wasn’t out there at midnight or 1 o’clock.”

A preliminary investigation reveals that the woman reportedly swerved to avoid another vehicle and may have accidentally accelerated into the river.


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