Car Pulled From Chippewa River

It was a busy morning in Dunn county as the sheriffs department and Menomonie fire crews worked to pull a car from the Chippewa River.

There were some tense moments, as rescue crews battled a strong undercurrent and a rocky embankment. And when they pulled the car from the river, they weren't sure what they would find.

"When I drove up I"m like how much trouble am I in cause there's police and ambulances everywhere," the car's owner Patrick Duffy said.

After locking his keys in the car last night, Duffy never expected to see this when he returned. His white Oldsmobile wasn't sitting in the lot where he left it. Instead, it was floating in the Chippewa River.

"I don't know I guess I've never seen a car in the water before so it was kind of cool actually," he said.

Shortly after nine Friday morning a person riding a bike on the bridge in the Dunnville Wildlife Area noticed Duffy's car and called the sheriffs department.

"Sheriffs department and Menomonie fire department were dispatched to the scene, we arrived we had to wait for a dive team to show up due to the water current and the depth of the water," Dunn county Chief Deputy Paul Gunness said.

Gunness says Duffy's car was resting in a difficult area to access with nine-foot deep water and a rocky shoreline. Still, a wrecking crew eventually pulled the car from the river and deputies began their investigation.

"It appears that somebody did break into the car and either drove it or pushed it into the river," Gunness said.

Duffy had few valuables in the car, but says he did leave his and a friend's wallet inside.

"He's visiting from Australia and that's pretty much all his identification, credit cards and yeah hopefully they're still in there," Duffy said.

Gunness says they have no idea why the car was abandoned in the river, but says the area where Duffy's car was parked is not remote and the investigation will continue.

For Duffy that means, a car out of commission and plenty of time on a bike.

"Kinda hard when it rains," he said.

Gunness says the recovery effort was lengthy and expensive. He says Duffy's insurance will likely foot the bill.


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