MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Authorities believe alcohol may have played a role in the decision by two men to drive their SUV into the Mississippi River in the north Twin Cities metro early Friday morning.
Police were called to the 6100 block of Rivlyn Avenue in Anoka, Minn. at about 1:30 a.m. after a neighbor in the area reported an SUV driving behind a residence and into the river. When authorities arrived, they spotted the vehicle about 175 yards from shore in the river. One person was on the roof of the vehicle, but was not responsive when officers tried to make contact.
Authorities said the Ramsey Fire and Rescue team launched a boat into the river, and the person on top of the SUV fell into the river. Officers lost sight of that person, a 39-year-old man, but were able to rescue a 42-year-old man from inside the SUV and took him to shore. Police said that man was not cooperating with officers and appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. He was taken to a hospital and treated for hypothermia.
Authorities have yet to locate the other missing person, but the search is ongoing. Ramsey Police said the two had been off-road driving behind some homes near the river.
“Even being out driving on a night like last night or early this morning is not recommended,” said Ramsey Police Chief Jim Way. “And then you throw in something like the alcohol it just makes for a bad combination.”
The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office said a search for that person will resume Friday, but that the man is presumed dead. Police said the man they are searching for is the owner of the SUV, but they aren’t sure who was driving when it went into the river.
Neighbors said it’s pretty hard to believe that anyone would deliberately drive into icy waters, but witnesses said the two men in this SUV drove behind the yard of a home with headlights shining onto the water. They stopped at river’s edge, then drove down the bank.
“Where this vehicle left the road and drove around this wasn’t, uh, like an accident where they slid off the road. They left the road, left the cul-de-sac area, drove around the residence, back behind it into the river,” Way said.
The names of the two men have not been released.