SUV plunges into water, passenger’s body found 12 hours later

Mary Dyer, Facebook photo

ST. PETE BEACH, FL (WFLA) —  The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday afternoon confirmed that a body found off Treasure Island was the passenger in a car that crashed into the water off St. Pete Beach Thursday morning.

The crash happened around 3 a.m. Pinellas County detectives said that Robert Schermerhorn, 69, was driving his Mercedes Benz EL 350 westbound on 75th Avenue approaching the intersection of Sunset Way. According to PCSO, Schermerhorn couldn’t make the left southbound turn onto Sunset Way and crashed into a wooden fence. He drove over the seawall into the water of Blind Pass.

Schermerhorn managed to escape and get out of water. His passenger, 66-year-old Mary Dyer never surfaced. When rescue crews arrived, Schermerhorn told them that Dyer was probably trapped inside the car. Deputies searched for the car and called for additional resources trying to rescue Dyer.

The Marine Unit and the Dive Team helped find the vehicle at the bottom of the pass in about 25 feet of water. The car was pulled out of the water but Dyer was not in it. Crews continued looking for her.

Later in the afternoon PCSO deputies received a report about a body found floating near 10077 Gulf Boulevard in Treasure Island. Investigators confirmed that it was Dyer.

Schermerhorn was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Investigators believe that impairment may have been a factor in the crash.

Neighbor remembers victim

Tracie Arnold lives in the Gulfport condominium that Dyer called home off and on. “Its um, like kind of shaky, ya know? It’s just really sad,” Arnold said, breaking into tears.

News Channel 8 found the lights still on in Dyer’s condo. In addition, the victim’s SUV sat in the parking lot.

“It’s horrible, ya know. And she was so nice … It’s just scary, really scary,” Arnold said.

They continue investigating the crash.

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