The Washington Times-Herald

January 9, 2013

Police finding out how SUV ended up in river

By Nate Smith
Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — Daviess County Sheriff’s dispatchers received a call at 1 p.m. Sunday about a vehicle in the White River near the bridge on U.S. 50W.

According to Lt. Detective Bill Dougherty, deputies were able to determine no one was in the vehicle and to get a general description of it. No vehicles matching that description, and no people, had been reported missing, so they elected to wait until today when better weather was forecast to try to remove it.

On Monday, Indiana Department of Natural Resources conservation divers went into the river and retrieved a full description and license plate information.

“It was reported stolen from Vincennes recently,” said ICO Keirsten Forbey, describing the vehicle as a white 2007 Mazda “soccer mom vehicle.”

The law enforcement officers said the Mazda was spotted about 100-200 yards downriver from the U.S. 50 bridge, nearer to the east bank. More than likely, whoever took the vehicle ran it down the Maysville boat ramp into the water and let it go, Forbey explained.

“Cars don’t float,” he quipped, explaining, however, that if the windows are up and the doors and windows are well sealed, a vehicle will take longer to sink. If windows are down, the vehicle will fill with water faster and sink sooner. In the case of the Mazda, he said all the windows were up, which is probably why it drifted downstream a little farther than it might’ve otherwise.

Forbey and Dougherty said the Mazda’s roof is under a foot or less of water. Dougherty said it can be seen from the bridge’s eastbound lanes.

“You can see it if you stand on the river bank,” Forbey said. “The water is only about 6 feet deep there.”

Still, recovering the vehicle won’t be simple. Divers will have to attach a chain, and a wrecker won’t be able to get very close, so extra cable will be needed to run a hook out to it. Dougherty said a wrecker will park on the bridge and pull the vehicle out of the river from there.