Officials in Warren County are investigating an accident late Tuesday in which a car was submerged in a lake off of Interstate 71.
Lt. M. J. Hamilton of the Ohio Highway Patrol’s Lebanon post said just after 10 p.m. Tuesday, a car traveling north on I-71 reportedly ran into a lake and five occupants were treated at local hospitals.
Preliminary investigation shows Bridget Shelley, 47, of Ashland, Ohio was driving a white 2002 Mazda Millenia northbound near mile marker 40 when she drove off the left side of the roadway into the median. Backseat passenger Anthony Deloach, 37, of Mansfield reportedly noticed the driver was slouched over the wheel, so he jerked the steering wheel to the right to avoid going into the southbound lanes, according to Ohio Highway Patrol.
Authorities said the vehicle traveled off the right side of the roadway and hit a tree and a fence before coming to rest in a lake. According to Hamilton, the vehicle was partially submerged in the lake and troopers from Lebanon, Wilmington and the Clinton-Warren Fire Department waded into the lake to free the trapped passengers.
“The driver said she went into a coughing fit and passed out,” Hamilton said. “We don’t have too many vehicles that go into a body of water. The water was waist-high.”
Shelley, Deloach and Shelley’s 7-year-old son — who was a rear seat passenger — were treated and released from Bethesda Arrow Springs Hospital in Lebanon.
Passengers Angel Deloach, 35, of Mansfield and Teena Lootens, 30, of Mansfield were flown to Miami Valley Hospital for serious injuries. Angel Deloach is listed in good condition; Lootens is in fair condition, according to hospital officials.
The crash remains under investigation but no alcohol or drug usage was involved, according to Hamilton. All occupants were wearing seat belts.