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Friday, Dec 19, 2014
Offbeat Stories

Mich. flood ‘victim’ is actually alive

The Associated Press
Published:

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A woman who city officials said died in massive flooding last week in the Detroit area has a message to share.

“I’m alive,” Jena David says.

Warren Fire Chief David Frederick had said someone pulled a Sterling Heights woman from her car last Monday and carried her into a nearby business.

She was unconscious when firefighters arrived and placed her in an emergency vehicle. City officials said the woman died.

But, as it turns out, David, 30, regained consciousness in her hospital bed. Doctors discharged the Wayne State University psychology student, and her father drove her home.

David saw a news report about a 30-year-old woman who had died after being carried into a Buddy’s Pizza location by an unknown man.

Then, it dawned on her: “They’re talking about me. Everyone thinks I’m dead,” she told The Detroit News.

“Now, my friends don’t believe me when I tell them I’m the girl who supposedly died at the Buddy’s Pizza,” she said, calling it “a strange kind of feeling.”

In the confusion, officials mistakenly reported the death, said Warren Deputy Police Commissioner Louis Galasso.

“I got the information from the fire department that the woman had died, and then I relayed it to the media,” Galasso said. “It wasn’t our case, but that’s what we were told.

“Then (on Thursday), I got a call from our fire commissioner, who tells me: ‘You know that lady who died at Buddy’s? Well, she just walked into Buddy’s looking for her property. She’s not dead. She wanted to know if anyone had her purse.’ ”

Two people died in the flood: Julia Sarno, 100, who drowned in the water-filled basement of her Warren home; and an unnamed 68-year-old Warren man who died while pushing his car on a flooded Oak Park street. Those deaths have been confirmed by coroners.

David said she would like to meet the man who possibly saved her life by pulling her out of the car as well as the others who aided her in the restaurant.

“God bless you,” she said of the stranger. “I’m very grateful that you were there.”

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