GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga - We now know the woman whose car plunged into a pond worked in metro Atlanta as a teacher.
A witness told Channel 2’s Tony Thomas said he knew Tavel was trapped inside of the car so he immediately called 911. He talked to a dispatcher for nearly two minutes requesting rescue units until he couldn’t wait any longer. He handed the phone to another witness and jumped into the murky waters.
Firefighters arrived on scene within five minutes of the first call. The first responders even jumped in themselves to attempt a rescue but it was useless. The Fulton County middle school teacher, Laura Tavel, drowned inside her car.
“They had counselors here this morning to help us get through it,” said co-worker Cliff Roberts.
Tavel taught 7th grade social studies at the school.
“This morning, the principal asked if different teachers wanted to stand up and talk about Laura and just fantastic stories. One after another,” Roberts said.
The medical examiner said there were no signs of trauma or a heart attack. She was alive when she went into the water but may have been passed out. Investigators, close friends, and witnesses are puzzled.
Fulton County school leaders said an open house is planned for next week for students at River Trail Middle School. A crisis team will also be on hand in case students and families need support.