Driver who plunged car into river 'critical'

2010-09-28T00:00:00Z 2010-09-28T19:42:37Z Driver who plunged car into river 'critical'By Deborah Laverty, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223

HOBART| Family members of Cynthia J. Ray waited anxiously Monday afternoon outside the intensive care unit at St. Mary Medical Center, hoping for something to cling to.

The 46-year-old Hobart woman, who drove her car into Deep River on Sunday afternoon, was alive late Monday, but in "very critical condition," Police Chief David Evans said.

"My mom's not doing well right now," her son told a Times reporter.

He, and a woman who identified herself as Ray's sister, said they did not want to talk further about the accident, which police believe may have been the result of medical problems.

Ray's neighbor in Hobart's Pine Village trailer court, Ronnie Ivey, said Monday she had a history of seizures.

Witnesses said Ray's vehicle, a silver Buick LeSabre, was traveling east at a high rate of speed and crossed the westbound lanes, hit the curb before the bridge and went off the roadway down the embankment into the river on the north side of the bridge.

Witnesses said the vehicle was fully submerged within seconds of hitting the water.

Fire units and six Hobart police officers were among those responding. Two officers were off duty at the time, but working security at a nearby business and were able to respond quickly.

Officers in the water were joined by members of the Hobart Fire Department and two civilians.

Other fire departments who assisted in the rescue effort included Four Seasons, Lake Dale, Crown Point , Portage and Lake Station.

Some witnesses figured the car was in the water three minute before rescuers arrived.

Ivey said he thought Ray was likely on her way to the grocery store when the accident happened.

He said he saw her leave the house about an hour before he heard of the accident.

He was concerned about her driving because she was in an accident in Portage about two months ago and flipped her car, he said.

He also said she had fallen in her home recently.

"She's one of the best neighbors I ever had and would do anything in the world for you," Ivey said.

Fire Chief Brian Taylor, one of the emergency responders who helped pull  Ray from Deep River, hoped for her recovery.

"Our prayers are with her family," Taylor said.

Hobart police initially reported Monday that Ray had died, but later said they erred in releasing that information.


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