Archive for Sunday, September 5, 1999

CAR TOWED FROM RIVER

September 5, 1999

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The car's discovery by children led to hours of work for police, fire and ambulance crews Saturday.

Children playing Saturday afternoon made a discovery that led to several hours of activity by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, the Lawrence Police Department, the Lawrence Fire Department and an ambulance crew.

About 2:30 p.m., two children playing on the Eighth Street boat ramp along the river in North Lawrence noticed a piece of metal sticking out of the water.

One child threw a rock at it. When they heard the sound of the rock striking glass, they realized it was a car. All that was visible was the right top corner of the passenger compartment of the blue vehicle.

The children also thought they saw an arm sticking out of a window of the car.

They went back to their home and called police. By 3 p.m. two Lawrence police officers and two sheriff's officers were checking out the vehicle.

Because they were unable to see anything from the bank and had a report of a possible body, they called the Douglas County Underwater Rescue team.

At the same time, the parking area at the top of the boat ramp was closed to the public and remained closed for four hours.

Divers were unable to see anything because the car was full of mud, said Sheriff's Office Capt. Bill Shepard. The mud reached to the windows, Shepard said.

Then began the process of trying to tow the vehicle out of the water. The car was so full of mud, about all that could be done was to get it to the bottom of the boat ramp.

Firefighters then began hosing the vehicle out. By 7:30 p.m., police knew there was no body in the car.

The car, a blue 1994 4-door Honda Accord, was reported stolen in Topeka on Dec. 7, 1998.

Shepard said that given the amount of mud in the car, it's possible the car has been in the river since that time.

The Eighth Street Boat Ramp is a popular place to dump unwanted cars, he said.

"It seems to be," Shepard said. "This is the second one we've had in the last six months."

-- Erwin Seba's phone message number is 832-7145. His e-mail address is eseba@ljworld.com.

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