The woman who died in a pre-dawn car crash Sunday was Carole Albury, 68, of Cudjoe Key, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. She had worked for 42 years as a medical technician at Lower Keys Medical Center on Stock Island.
Albury was alone in her car, driving to work, when she lost control of the 2004 Chevy, which left the road just south of the Boca Chica Bridge at Mile Marker 6.
The car crashed through trees and fell 30 feet into the bay, landing in about 10 feet of water, FHP reported.
Sheriff's Deputy John Gabay, the first to arrive, dove into the water and pulled her out of the vehicle. He tried life-saving measures, but she could not be revived, the Sheriff's Office said.
In 2006, Albury was named the "Outstanding Employee of the Quarter" at the medical center.
Hospital employees on Monday absorbed the shock of losing one of their own and remembered Albury as a dedicated worker they could always count on.
"A kind-hearted woman," said Gina Sellers, executive assistant to the hospital's CEO, Nicki Will. "This was her home. This was all she wanted to do. We couldn't get her to retire. You always knew she was going to show up for work."
Never married and without children, Albury focused on her career at Lower Keys Medical Center, said Sellers.
But Albury made time to help out homeless dogs.
She was a supporter of the Florida Keys Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and often fostered boxer breed dogs in her home. Albury had adopted a bulldog in recent years, the nonprofit said.
She had owned property in Cudjoe Key since 1997.