Update: Woman pulled from Boone creek
by Kellen Short
Passers-by and an off-duty sheriff's deputy pulled an unconscious woman from the creek near Boone Heights Drive on Saturday afternoon.
Boone resident Jordan Nelson said he was in the drive-through at Burger King around 2 p.m. Saturday when he noticed a figure lying on the opposite side of Winkler's Creek. He jumped out of his vehicle, fearing the woman was dead, and headed down the bank.
"I'm talking to 911 while I'm in the creek," Nelson said. "As I get a little closer, I can see her side, the lady's side, just barely moving."
Deputy Gerald Townsend said he and his family were also in the drive-through when they saw Nelson get out of his car. He originally thought Nelson might have dropped his money until he saw the woman, partially submerged.
"Her head was laying on some rocks, and her nose and mouth was the only thing out of the water," he said.
Nelson, Townsend and others waded across the water to get to the woman, who came to when they pulled her out, they said.
The woman told her rescuers that she had been walking on the Greenway Trail and didn't remember what had happened, Townsend said.
Tina Beshears, who had stopped for a drink at the fast food restaurant, said she helped remove the woman's cold, drenched clothing and wrap her in a dry sweatshirt. She identified the victim as Pam Pitts.
She said the woman was very cold and seemed confused.
"She quit kind of panicking and just stared at me, which was a little unnerving," Beshears said. "I thought, is she OK? But finally, she said, 'Are you an angel?' which broke my heart. I said, 'No, honey, you're alive, and you're fine, and the paramedics are taking you to the hospital.'"
By that time, Boone Fire Department and Watauga Medics had arrived, he said, and the woman was taken to Watauga Medical Center. Medics Director Craig Sullivan said the woman was in stable condition at the time of transport.
After the woman was safely in paramedics' care, Burger King employees invited the group in for a free meal.
Nelson said he didn't know how the victim was doing but hoped she was recovering well.
Hospital representatives have not yet responded to a message seeking an update on Pitts' status.
"It still doesn't seem real to me, just because of how quick and crazy -- it's just something you would never ever imagine seeing," Nelson said.