A woman died of injuries sustained when her SUV plunged into the San Joaquin River after a stranger went missing while attempting to rescue her.
Melanie Caligiuri, 46, of Patterson, died Tuesday, Oct. 17, at San Joaquin General Hospital in French Camp, according to the San Joaquin County coroner’s office.
Caligiuri was driving with her 5-year-old daughter when their SUV went off Airport Way and into the river southeast of Tracy a week before. When a man who had witnessed the crash went into the river to help them, she climbed out and was holding the girl on top of the sinking vehicle.
The man took the child to the shore, then returned for the driver, who vanished under the water.
Soon after, the woman was discovered on the riverbank and assisted by other witnesses, but the rescuer was never seen again.
Eddie Gerardo Cervantes Lora, 41, of Manteca, married with three children ages four, sixteen, and seventeen, was reported missing by a friend who was also at the crash scene, according to Sacramento TV station KOVR.
Caligiuri’s 5-year-old son was reportedly unharmed in the collision. According to a GoFundMe page, the woman is also survived by her husband and a son and daughter in their twenties.
Cervantes Lora’s family has also set up a GoFundMe page.