Driver dies when car plunges into river near Stone Arch bridge

  • Updated: August 13, 2013 - 10:55 AM

Emily Peterson of Minneapolis scribbled "R.I.P." Tuesday onto an area near the scene where one man died when the vehicle he was driving plunged into the Mississippi River near the Stone Arch Bridge. Peterson, who lives nearby, said she heard a large crash Monday night from her balcony.

Photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

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One man died when the vehicle he was driving plunged into the Mississippi River near the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis on Monday night.

City police and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office sent rescue teams and divers to the area just upriver from Mill Ruins Park at about 9:40 p.m. after receiving urgent reports that a car driving erratically on West River Parkway had gone into the river and was quickly sinking.

Police said a Pontiac Sunfire left the roadway on W River Pkwy near 2nd St. S. breaking through the security fence and submerging in the river. Sheriff’s deputies located the vehicle approximately 40 feet from shore.

By midnight, emergency crews had pulled the car from the river and authorities were trying to determine whether anyone else had been in the vehicle.

Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said an underwater camera was used to locate the car. He said he couldn’t comment on whether alcohol was involved or if the incident was connected to earlier reports of a hit and run accident in downtown Minneapolis.

A large crowd of people watched rescue workers drag the car from the river and one man who appeared to know the victim fell to the ground sobbing when told that the driver was dead.

Maya Rao

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