William Brooks, Joshua West and Kathryn West, pictured with Police Chief Thomas Bennett, each received the Citizen Award during last month’s Suffolk Police Department Awards Ceremony and Banquet. The Burbage Grant residents saved three lives after a car drove into a pond. (Submitted photo)
William Brooks, Joshua West and Kathryn West, pictured with Police Chief Thomas Bennett, each received the Citizen Award during last month’s Suffolk Police Department Awards Ceremony and Banquet. The Burbage Grant residents saved three lives after a car drove into a pond. (Submitted photo)

Archived Story

Citizen rescuers receive awards

Published 10:43pm Friday, May 2, 2014

Three Burbage Grant residents whose actions saved lives after a car plunged into a pond Feb. 11 were honored during last month’s Suffolk Police Department Awards Ceremony and Banquet.

Joshua West, his wife Kathryn West and William Brooks each received the Citizen Award.

Latasha Dubois, 23, died after her family’s car drove off Respass Beach Road into the icy waters of a retention pond.

But, thanks to assistance rendered by the three citizens, who live behind the pond and raced to the scene after Joshua West heard the crash, Latasha Dubois’ 25-year-old husband, London Dubois, and the couple’s two young children were saved.

Joshua West waded into the water, finding the children facedown and dragging them to dry land.

The boy, 3, came to when laid down on the bank. West started chest compressions on the girl, 2, then went back into the pond and freed London Dubois, whose leg was trapped underneath the car.

Brooks, an emergency room physician in the Air Force, was able to revive the daughter. Both children were taken to separate homes, where they were cared for until ambulances arrived.

Police divers recovered the body of Latasha Dubois, who had not been visible in the water, about an hour after the accident.

“Each and every one of you is a true representative of just what makes this city great,” Mayor Linda T. Johnson remarked during the ceremony. “We all know that it takes everyone together to do the things that need to be done every day in the city to keep us safe.”

Suffolk Police Chief Thomas Bennett said: “Tonight, we heard many stories of outstanding performance — many of bravery, many of courage.”

Investigators determined that the fatal plunge was accidental, occurring after Latasha Dubois, a passenger in the car being driven by her husband, reached into the driver’s side floor to grab a small hand-held vacuum that had fallen there.

As she sat back up, she grabbed the steering wheel, causing the car to careen off Respass Beach Road, through a hedge and into the retention pond just before 8 p.m.

Latasha Dubois was pronounced dead at the Bon Secours Maryview Hospital emergency room.

The vehicle was traveling at 40 miles per hour in a 35-mph zone, according to the report, and Latasha Dubois was not wearing a seatbelt. The children were in child restraints, it added.

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