Family tragedy: Mom dies on Christmas Eve after car ends up in canal

Woman dies after car ends up in Deerfield Beach canal

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. – A 3-year-old girl lost her mom on Christmas Eve, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. She and her parents ended up trapped inside a car in a Deerfield Beach canal on Friday.

Cynthia Hutchinson, 42, died Saturday morning at Broward Health North. Aubrey's father, Christopher Herndon, was inconsolable after getting out of the car off Interstate 95 near Southwest 10th Street.

Herndon, 42, told FHP troopers he couldn't get Hutchinson and their daughter Aubrey out of the Hyundai Elantra. Aubrey was said to be in the back in a car seat.

"As many as 20 people were in the water trying to rescue the woman and the child," Broward Sheriff's Office Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles said.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers helped to rescue Hutchinson and Aubrey, who was going to spend Christmas at Broward Health Medical Center, where she remained in critical condition.

"There was a Lighthouse Point police officer that was on scene that actually observed the vehicle veer out of control," said Sgt. John Baker, of FHP.

Authorities believe Hutchinson was driving when the crash happened. Initial reports indicate it was Cynthia behind the wheel, but a member of her family told Local 10 News they don't believe that's accurate.

"The obstacle was, the car was up on its roof, they weren't able to get into the car because of the suction," Baker said. "A witness said he didn't see anything prior to the vehicle swerving. He just saw the vehicle going across all lanes at a diagonal direction."

Records show Herndon's criminal history includes cases of driving under the influence; careless driving; trafficking in heroin, opium and morphine; traffic in stolen property and an armed burglary.

Local 10 News' Melissa Alvarez contributed to this story. 

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