Two dead in Winona as car plunges into Mississippi River

  • Article by: PAT PHEIFER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 6, 2014 - 5:52 AM
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A vehicle is pulled from the Mississippi River on Riverview Drive near Huff Street in Winona, Minn., on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014. Two bodies were recovered from the vehicle.

Photo: Andrew Link, Winona Daily News via AP

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Two bodies were found in a car that plunged through the ice into the Mississippi River in Winona early Sunday morning, authorities said.

The woman was identified as 36-year-old Christina Lee Hauser, of Winona. The name of the 30-year-old man was not immediately released. The bodies will be sent to Rochester for autopsies.

Winona County Sheriff David Brand said the sheriff’s office received a call at 7:19 a.m. Sunday after someone noticed tire tracks and debris indicating a car had gone into the river off Riverview Drive near Huff and 2nd streets.

Deputies found a broken guardrail, as well as a license plate, purse and other debris on shore. There was a large hole in the ice on the river.

An underwater camera located the car and divers from Winona and La Crosse helped pull it from the river about noon, Brand said

The bodies were found inside. The car was on its wheels and the air bags had been deployed. The victims were wearing seat belts, the sheriff said.

In a news release, Brand said the car is registered to the 36-year-old female. Efforts to reach her Sunday morning were unsuccessful, the sheriff’s office said.

Hauser reportedly left a Winona bar with three male passengers about 1:20 a.m. Sunday.

In 1997, five young people drowned when their car went into the river near the same spot. The victims in that case, Timothy Stapleton, 24, of Waconia; Jason Collins, 25, of Eden Prairie; Mary Clare Karnick, 21, of Darien, Ill.; Susan Wall, 21, of Chicago, and Anne Locher, 22, of Plymouth, had spent the night drinking before their sport-utility vehicle went over the levee and into the river on March 1, 1997.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Pat Pheifer • 952-746-3284

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