Jennifer Michelle Patton
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1988 The Roar
R. L. Turner High School
Carrollton, Dallas Co., Texas
Jennifer Michelle Patton, the family’s “Spice Child”,
passed away on Tuesday, January 5, 2010. She took her lunch break from
work to go visit animals at a duck pond, which she frequently enjoyed
doing, and lost control of her vehicle, perhaps trying to avoid hitting
a duck! Unfortunately, her car careened over the curb, down a steep
embankment and ended in a deep architectural pond. God works in
mysterious ways. We should not and will not question.
Jenny was born February 23, 1970 in a Navy hospital in Kittery, Maine
(the only Yankee in her whole family) when her dad was stationed there.
She attended all her school years in the Carrollton/Farmers Branch I.S.D.
and graduated with honors from R.L. Turner High School in 1988. She
became a certified court reporter after graduating from the Court
Reporting Institute of Dallas in 1993. She worked for a year in this
career, found it not to her liking, and joined the HDR Architectural and
Engineering Firm’s Dallas team. She so enjoyed her coworkers/friends and
the work environment that she stayed there until her tragic and untimely
Jenny was the U.S.G.F gymnastics Texas State Champion in 1982 (Class 4,
age 12-14). She was very involved with the American Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and volunteered extensively for
this organization. She was nominated this year for two Pathfinder
Awards, which are internal awards given at HDR, Inc. The award ceremony
is one that Jenny previously M.C’d, and so it was especially meaningful
to her to learn of her nomination.
Survivors include her father Robert (Rusty) Patton and wife Terri of
Sanger, Texas, sister and husband Lisa and Ken Bell of Dallas, and their
daughters Jayelyn and Camryn Bell, brother Casey Patton of Austin,
beloved partner Lisa McCain of Haltom City, a step-grandfather Richard
Parsons of Denton, several aunts and uncles, and many cousins.
Jenny was preceded in death by her loving mother Jaye Marilyn (Freeman)
Patton, her paternal grandparents Beatrice and Charles Patton, and
maternal grandparents Joe and “Googie” Freeman.
Jenny wrote the story for our popular saying of “Live-Laugh-Love”. She
was a wonderful, caring daughter, friend, sister and partner. Her
request in lieu of flowers would be a donation to the American Society
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or to the charity of your
A visitation will be held at Rhoton Funeral Home, located at Crosby and
I-35E in Carrollton, on Saturday, January 9, 2010 from 10 a.m. until 12
noon followed by the memorial service at 12 noon.
The Denton Record Chronicle - January 9, 2010
Far North Dallas pond crash in which woman drowned a mystery
12:00 AM CST on Thursday, January 7, 2010
By JASON TRAHAN / The Dallas Morning News
Traffic investigators remained puzzled Wednesday over what caused 39-year-old
Jennifer Michelle Patton to veer off the road in a Far North Dallas neighborhood
and drown after her car plunged into a frigid pond, trapping her inside.
ALAN KOENIGSBERG/Special Contributor
Dallas Fire-Rescue personnel pull Jennifer Michelle Patton's car from a
pond in Far North Dallas. The first firefighters on the scene Tuesday
entered the cold water without waiting for diving suits but were unable
to save her.
Theories abound, however, ranging from possible vehicle malfunction, to her
swerving to avoid ducks that are known to cross Fallkirk Drive and Campbell Road
at Twin Lakes Park.
"We're saying, 'Could that have been a possibility?' " said Dallas police Sgt.
Fred Katani, about the suggestion that she was trying to avoid ducks.
"We have no way of knowing at this time what it was," he said. "We still have
rocks to turn over."
Patton was a marketing coordinator for HDR Inc., an architectural firm on
Preston Road about two miles to the west off Campbell Road, family members said.
They said she often ate lunch at the pond to watch the ducks.
"Work is crazy, and I'm headed to the duck pond," she told a friend around
lunchtime Tuesday, according to Ken Bell, who is married to Patton's sister.
Investigators believe that Patton was driving north on Fallkirk Drive near
Campbell when she inexplicably veered left and drove into the water.
"The family's in shock," Bell said.
"It seems like one of those freak occurrences that you never think is going to
happen to you."
Firefighters were alerted just after 1 p.m. The first rescuers on scene decided
not to wait for the water rescue team, which would have diving suits to protect
them from the cold, so they got a boat and went out to the fully submerged SUV.
Two firefighters plunged into the 50-degree water and broke through the sunroof,
but Patton was already unconscious by that time, authorities said.
She was pronounced dead at Richardson Hospital. The Dallas County medical
examiner's office on Wednesday ruled her death an accidental drowning.
No witnesses have come forward to say they saw the vehicle immediately before
entering the water, and only one person has told police they saw it before it
disappeared under the surface, police said.
"So there's a possibility that if that witness hadn't seen the car sinking,
she'd have just disappeared and no one would have known," Sgt. Katani said.
Patton's relatives said Wednesday that she often took in rescue animals, and
they have asked that memorials be made in her name to the American Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
"She was just full of life," said her aunt, Cindy Erdman.
Fifteen years ago, a similar incident at the same pond had a happier ending.
The Rev. John Kershaw, who at the time was a 65-year-old Richardson pastor, was
driving near the same park on Feb. 20, 1995, when he apparently fainted and his
car plunged into the water.
Logan Johnson, a 17-year-old pizza deliveryman, was driving on Campbell Road and
saw the vehicle go into the water, according to newspaper accounts. He dived in,
dragged the elderly man through an unlocked back door and swam him to safety.
Woman Dies After Car Submerges in Dallas Pond
A Haltom City woman died Tuesday
after losing control of her vehicle and ending up
submerged in a pond in Dallas.
Jennifer Patton, 39, was driving
near the 16000 block of Fallkirk Drive, not far from
Campbell Road and Queens Ferry Lane, when she apparently
lost control of her sport utility vehicle and drove into
the pond, officials said.
Patton, who was unresponsive when
firefighters pulled her from the vehicle, was later
pronounced dead at Richardson Hospital on Tuesday
Firefighters jumped into the
frigid water and broke through the sunroof to pull
Patton out of the SUV. One firefighter was treated for
signs of hypothermia and several others were rushed back
to their station to warm up and get into dry clothes.
Rescuers used a winch to pull the
car from the cold, shallow water.
Police said they do not know why
Patton ran off the road. Witnesses said they saw her
fighting to get out of the vehicle as it sank into the
NBCDFW's Scott Friedman
contributed to this report.
Accidental drowning ruled in death of woman who drove SUV into
Far North Dallas pond
Update: Woman Dies After Crashing SUV Into Dallas Pond
By Steve Pickett at KTVT/KTXA in Dallas
A woman died after a tragic car accident turned into a frigid water rescue
attempt. Members of a Dallas Fire Rescue team and everyday citizens braved
frigid conditions to pull Jennifer Patton from the waters of Twin Lakes Park.
The park pond is located at the intersection of Fallkirk Drive and Campbell Road
in far North Dallas.
Patton somehow drove her car into the freezing water. Witnesses say they saw the
car plunge into the pond.
The 39-year-old woman was submerged in her black Ford SUV for several minutes.
At least two passersby tried to get to the car, but the water was freezing. “We
weren’t sure if anyone was in there or not,” explained witness Brenda Gonzalez.
“This young fellow tried to go in but he just barely got up to his waist and he
couldn’t handle the cold, so he came out.”
Officials with Dallas Fire Rescue estimate the temperature of the water was in
Dallas firefighter John Nimmo knows what it’s like to run into a burning
building. Now he knows how it feels to jump into frigid water. “It took my
breath away for a moment,” Nimmo said of his experience at Twin Lakes Park.
“I had a device designed to break a window, but it was so cold under water that
my first two attempts were unsuccessful,” explained Nimmo. “So I came back up,
got an ax and went back down and broke the window with the ax.” Nimmo dove in
without a wet suit.
Despite being fully prepared, the water soon took its toll and the initial signs
of hypothermia set in. “My lungs were burning and my muscles were beginning to
shake. I broke the window and I stood back up and my legs were shaking and my
arms were shaking,” said Nimmo.
Fortunately, Nimmo had help from above – literally. Two firefighters, on a
ladder, hovered over the submerged car with a 16-foot pole. “We were trying to
figure out if we could feel glass. We knew if we could feel glass, then we could
break it out,” explained Darryl Hayes with Dallas Fire Rescue. The firefighters
on the ladder finally smashed through the vehicles sunroof.
Rescuers pulled Patton from the car, but the dangerously cold water had slowed
the firefighters down and too much time had passed. “It seems like time goes so
fast,” Dallas Fire Rescuer Frank Silvas said in reflection. “We want so
desperately to be successful, but there’s just times when things are out of our
After getting her out of the water rescuers immediately began CPR. “They got her
to the shore and transported her to Richardson Hospital,” said Jason Evans with
Dallas-Fire Rescue. Patton was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Former neighbors of Patton told CBS 11 News that the woman had recently sold her
Carrollton home and moved in with another woman in Fort Worth.
Dallas Police and Dallas Fire Rescue are investigating the crash. There was no
sign of brake or skid marks near the pond, leaving investigators to figure out
what happened to Patton, or her car, that caused the accident.
By Jason Trahan in The Dallas Morning News
The Dallas County medical examiner’s office has ruled that a 39-year-old Haltom
City woman whose vehicle plunged into a frigid pond in North Dallas Tuesday
afternoon died from accidental drowning. Dallas police traffic investigators
still aren’t sure what caused Jennifer Michelle Patton’s Ford crossover SUV to
end up in the water near the intersection of Fallkirk Drive and Campbell Road in
Far North Dallas.
The incident occurred just after 1 p.m., when Dallas Fire Rescue was called
about a vehicle that had gone into the water with someone inside. Instead of
waiting for the dive team, first-arriving firefighters were able to get to the
victim quickly using a small rescue boat and life jackets.
They managed to break open the vehicle’s sunroof and pull the unresponsive woman
out. They began CPR, but Patton was pronounced dead at Richardson Hospital.
Editor’s Note: The Associated Press reports that one firefighter was treated for
symptoms of hypothermia