RAW VIDEO: Rescue workers retrieve car from Gwinnett County lake

Duluth woman dies after car plunges into Gwinnett County pond

UPDATE: The Duluth woman who died when her car plunged into a pond in Peachtree Corners Wednesday morning has been identified as 53-year-old Laura Jones Tavel.

Just before 7:30 a.m., Tavel’s silver 2000 Honda CR-V was negotiating a curve while traveling east on Peachtree Corners Circle when she veered to the right and into a retention pond, the Gwinnett County Police Department said in an emailed statement.

Tavel was traveling between Peachtree Parkway and Medlock Bridge Road, police said.

The investigation has not revealed what caused her to veer off the roadway. She was unable to get out of the car and died after the vehicle sank into 15 to 20 feet of water, police said

Police are continuing to investigate the cause of the accident.

Ted E. Bailey, an investigator for the Gwinnett medical examiner, confirmed Tavel died of drowning. He said it would be 10 to 12 weeks before testing for alcohol and other substances would be completed. There was no serious trauma to her body or evidence of any “catastrophic natural disease,” he said.

ORIGINAL REPORT: A woman’s body was found Wednesday morning in a car that plunged into a pond in a Gwinnett County office park, authorities said.

The incident happened about 7:30 a.m. near Peachtree Corners Circle and DaVinci Court.

Gwinnett County fire Capt. Tommy Rutledge said when firefighters arrived, witnesses “were able to quickly pinpoint to us where the vehicle would be in the water.”

Rutledge said the vehicle was completely submerged when fire crews arrived.

“Firefighters did don their personal flotation devices and attempt to make access to the vehicle,” he said. “Their rescue attempts were unsuccessful.”

A dive team from Hall County also responded to the scene, Rutledge said.

“They were able to go out to the vehicle, remove the body and we’ve since removed the vehicle from the water,” he said.

Investigators have not released the woman’s name or indicated what caused the car to veer off the road.

“The witnesses reported to us that they saw the driver in the vehicle, and she wasn’t really making any attempt to try to exit the vehicle,” Rutledge said. “The vehicle floated out into the water, suddenly nosed into the water and began to quickly sink. All of this played out within a matter of moments, according to the witnesses.”

— Staff photographer Bob Andres contributed to this report.

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