Couple, stressed over Florida evacuation, crashes car into hotel swimming pool

ACWORTH, Ga. — Two Floridians who fled to metro Atlanta to escape Hurricane Irma credit a local police department with helping them recover from an accident that almost cost them their lives.

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Theodore and Gloria Karadimos, from Punta Gorda, Florida, were staying at the Best Western in Acworth over the weekend as Irma pummeled Florida.

While they were trying to pull into the parking space outside their hotel room, Theodore Karadimos accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake, sending the car flying into the hotel swimming pool.

Chief Wayne Dennard said the couple was terrified they would die in the car because neither one could swim.

“This couple was obviously fleeing from the storm and stressed from that,” Dennard said.

Hotel guests quickly jumped in to help, pushing the floating, bobbing Lexus to the pool’s shallow end. Bystanders were able to get the couple and their two dogs out of the car.

Theodore Karadimos told Sgt. Tamara Clayton that his foot slipped off the brake.

As his wife was taken to a hospital, Clayton helped Theodore Karadimos with getting a rental car, calling insurance, replacing medicine and then checking on Gloria Karadimos.

“She quickly realized he was not in a mental state to do that, so she went the extra 1 percent to help do that for this couple,” Dennard said.

The couple showed their appreciation to the department by feeding members of the shift twice.

Gloria Karadimos said all the officers were outstanding. “I can’t give them enough praise,” she said.

The couple’s home in Florida suffered some exterior damage from Irma, but they said it is OK on the inside.

The couple said they are now considering moving to Acworth.

"We really are seriously thinking about moving up there because we feel they are part of our family from now on," Theodore Karadimos said.

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