Police came to pull a Jeep out of a lake. They found a woman inside, alive
It started with a call from a fisherman, who said he saw what looked to be a black Jeep virtually submerged in a large lake in Marion County, Texas. Not until later, after a tow truck came, did anyone realize someone was in the vehicle — and that they were still alive.
"We do not know how long the Jeep was in the water," Capt. Chuck Rogers, an investigator at the Marion County Sheriff's Office, told NPR. And that's just one of several questions that remain unanswered about the unusual case.
After that initial call on Friday morning, it took deputies around 18 minutes to reach the scene at Lake o' the Pines, which sits between Dallas and Shreveport, La. It took a little longer for a truck from a nearby wrecker service to arrive.
The Jeep was far from shore, about 40 feet out in the water from Woody's Camp Boat Ramp. The fisherman who called the authorities stuck around, using his boat to help a tow-truck worker get out to the Jeep and hook up a tow cable, Rogers said.
"It was at that time they saw the woman" inside the Jeep, the captain added. Abruptly, what began as a salvage job became a rescue. The fisherman and tow-truck driver helped get the woman out of the vehicle, pulling her into the fishing boat.
Deputies called an ambulance; in the meantime, the woman was put in a car to keep her warm. She was later taken to a hospital.
The woman's identity has not been released.
"During the incident, it was determined the woman was listed as a missing person from the Longview Texas Police Department," the Marion County Sheriff Office said.
She had been reported missing hours earlier — at 12:35 a.m. on Friday — police in Longview, a town some 24 miles south-by-southwest of the lake, told NPR.
Longview police said they couldn't share any more details about the woman or the circumstances that might have led to her predicament.
"Given the details of this case, we are unable to release any information at this time," said Melissa Dobbs, records administrator at the Longview Police Department.
As for how the Jeep came to be in the lake, the sheriff's department says it hasn't turned up anything suspicious about the incident. The boat ramp the vehicle apparently used to drive into the lake sits after a slight curve from a long and roughly straight rural road.
"There was nothing uncovered during the investigation to suggest this case was anything more than an accident," Rogers said.