Motorist Reaching For Cigarette Drives Into Pond

WHEATON, Ill. (STNG) ― A motorist veered off a west suburban road into a pond early Thursday after losing control while reaching for a lit cigarette that had fallen inside his car, police said.

A call came in just after midnight Thursday for a vehicle in the water with an occupant inside at Prairie and Gary avenues, according to the Wheaton Fire Dept.


Upon arrival, fire and police units found the car submerged in the lake just east of the Wheaton Sports Center at 1000 W. Prairie.

The man apparently dropped a lit cigarette while driving, scrambled to pick it up and lost control of his car, ultimately veering off the road into a pond, Wheaton Deputy Police Chief Tom Meloni said.

The man was able to climb out of the car and stood up on the trunk of the car so his head was out of the water, Meloni said. A passerby saw the man and the lights in the pond and called 911.

The passerby went into the water to help the man out but both men became stuck in the bottom of the pond, which was very muddy, Meloni said.

Two responding police officers were able to get the men out of the water and they were checked out by paramedics, Meloni said. Both refused hospital transport.

A water search and rescue operation was initiated because the first responders were unable to get early confirmation of whether there were other occupants in the vehicle, the fire department said. Police were able to confirm the driver was the only occupant.

The Wheaton Fire Dept. was assisted by departments from several neighboring communities.

Source: Sun-Times News Group Wire

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