04/23/07 — Woman drives her car off riverbank

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Woman drives her car off riverbank

By Lee Williams
Published in News on April 23, 2007 1:46 PM

A 24-year-old LaGrange woman drowned Sunday morning when she drove her car into the Neuse River and it sank to the bottom.

Divers freed the woman identified as Deana Marie Ormsby of Washington Street from the car at about 10 a.m. Rescue crews worked to save her, but to no avail.

Ms. Ormsby was taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, officials said. No foul play was suspected.

The incident that led up to Ms. Ormsby's death unfolded during a domestic dispute at a home in LaGrange. Officials said Ms. Ormsby became enraged during the dispute.

"She got mad because she couldn't get her way and knocked out all of the windows in the house," Wayne County sheriff's Capt. Daryll Overton said. "She left in a rage from the LaGrange residence."

Ms. Ormsby's friend, Sheila Lee Holland, 24, of Beston Road, LaGrange, jumped in the victim's 1997 black Honda Accord, and they drove off.

During their trip, Ms. Ormsby's emotional state continued to be unstable.

"She pulled out in front of a truck," officials said Ms. Holland told them.

Ms. Ormsby continued to the Sam Casey Bridge on Bill Lane Boulevard and drove down to the boat ramp that leads to the Neuse River.

She told her friend what she intended to do and the friend tried to dissuade her, Overton said.

"She told her friend this was her last chance to get out, and she drove into the river," Overton said.

Sheriff's officials received a call at 10:03 a.m. and rushed to the river. The Arr-Mac Water Response Team responded to the river, Arrington Volunteer Fire Chief Randy Rogers said.

"We were able to talk to the passenger, who was not in the vehicle, and she was able to show a proximity where the car was so they could find it," he said. "Arrington put their boat in and we were able to locate the car in about two minutes. It was just sitting on the bottom of the river."

The team marked the location and the divers jumped in to retrieve Ms. Ormsby.

"They busted out the rear passenger side window and retrieved the victim," Rogers said. "We had EMS workers on one boat and we turned the victim over to their hands."

The Honda was found upside down and there was an air pocket inside. EMS workers were hopeful they could save the victim, but they could not revive her.

Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders credited the Arr-Mac Water Response Team, which is comprised of divers from the sheriff's office.

He called the incident that led to the drowning "unfortunate."