Local News

Wake County woman thanks rescuers who pulled her from pond

Posted December 4, 2011

— A 74-year-old Wake County woman is thankful for three men she calls her "guardian angels." The men jumped into a Harnett County pond on Friday to save the woman after she blacked out and drove into the cold water.

"All I remember was I was on (U.S. Highway) 401," Julia Wiggins said Sunday. 

Wiggins was driving home to Willow Spring from a hair appointment in Raleigh when her blood sugar went too low, and she lost consciousness. She rear-ended another vehicle, driven by Chuck Beckwith of Fayetteville, and then ran off the road, through a wooden fence and into Robert Smith's pond off of U.S. 401 North in Fuquay-Varina.

Beckwith was the first person who jumped into the water to save Wiggins.

"He was an angel. If he had not been here at that time, she would have not survived," Smith said. 

David Keaton, who is with the Air Force, passed by and saw the wreck. The Fuquay-Varina man jumped into the water too, but neither man could break the window. 
Another passer-by, Chris Howell, from Lillington, soon jumped in with a hammer.

julia wiggins Wake County woman crashes into pond

Wiggins said her rescuers told her that when the glass was finally broken, the water was as high as her neck. 

"I'd like to thank you for saving my life (and) being my guardian angel. It if weren't for them, I wouldn't be here today," Wiggins said. 

Wiggins said she won't be able to drive for awhile, but she has relatives who can bring her places.


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  • ncmedic201 Dec 5, 2011

    If we are going to start taking away keys from every person with a medical diabetes then we should take them away from everyone who has high blood pressure, high cholesterol, being overweight, being underweight etc. The comments about this woman not driving are absolutely absurd!!!

  • soarhike Dec 5, 2011

    Davide Keaton's wife, Marcia, was killed this past March when the plane she was piloting crashed while attempting to in Greensboro. She was a wonderful person and I'm sure she'd be extremely proud of Davide for helping rescue Julia Wiggins.

  • pulstar40 Dec 5, 2011

    I wish all the best for a very happy holiday to the 3 men who saved her. Thank you for doing the right thing. And to the woman - I hope the doctors are able to help control the hypoglycemia or diabetes, and have a wonderful holiday too!

  • wral mods blow close my account Dec 5, 2011


  • wildcat Dec 5, 2011

    what if was you?" - monewa

    give up the keys and allow someone to drive you wherever you need to go.

  • storchheim Dec 5, 2011

    "And those people that say she shouldn't drive again, what if was you?" - monewa

    And what if she had hurt or killed someone dear to you? See how it works both ways when you speculate?

    I agree that she shouldn't drive again due to her condition and her advanced age. Bad combination.

    I'm very glad she was rescued - she could easily have died. The guys who waded in and rescued her put themselves at risk. It might or might not have been a deep pond but when your clothes get wet and drag you down, it doesn't take much to be overcome. Factor in a vehicle and an adult needing rescue and it gets sketchy real quick.

  • mmtlash Dec 5, 2011

    aww great to hear people doing good things in the news

  • Here2tellya Dec 5, 2011

    Way to go BECKWITH!!!!!!

  • Grumpy Old F__t Dec 5, 2011

    At a time when the media seems to only report negative stuff. It is great to see that there are still heroes among us who will risk their own safety for others. May God bless these folks!

  • Heyman Dec 5, 2011

    Wonderful story, I'm glad she was okay. And those people that say she shouldn't drive again, what if was you?