Mom saves kids from sinking car

June 9, 2008 8:14:32 PM PDT
A mother, aided by some Good Samaritans, rescued her children from a sinking car after the vehicle plunged into the Connetquot River in Suffolk County, Long Island. The woman's twin 11-month-old babies were trapped inside the car.

Authorities say that shortly after 30-year-old Coleen Charles, of Bay Shore, got out of her 2003 Toyota Corolla at Dowling College, her car started to roll down the hill and into the river. Charles mistakenly left her car in either neutral or drive, according to police.

Charles screamed for help as she was chasing the car. Authorities say 42-year-old Stacey Petrucci, of Islip, heard the screams and called 911. Petrucci found 21-year-old Anthony Pettaway, of Manhattan, and the pair, along with security guard James Cariddi, 45, of Seaford, rushed to the scene.

When the Good Samaritans arrived, police say Charles was already in the water, trying to get her babies out. The car was not totally submerged, and the babies' heads were never under water. After failing to open the door, Charles climbed through an open window and came out with a baby in each arm.

Charles handed Pettaway her daughter and Cariddi her son before getting out of the water herself. Charles and her children were taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center as a precaution.

The children suffered no injuries and Charles has minor scrapes along part of her body.