Car Runs Off Road Into River Des Peres

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SOUTH ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR)-A woman with three small children in her SUV hit a patch of ice and slid into the River Des Peres in South St. Louis Saturday morning.  It happened around 9:00am. A firefighter and two police officers went into the frigid water to rescue them. 

It was tough for the tow crew just to scale the river bank to hook up the SUV. 

St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said the long slide from River Des Peres Boulevard near Watson  into the water must have been harrowing ;  especially with the SUV overturning and the driver having three kids under age five in the vehicle.

“I can only imagine what she thought with all three kids in the back seat, who were all properly seat-belted in.  The infant was in the car seat,” Jenkerson said.

The woman and her 3 children were not seriously hurt.  They went to a hospital for observation. 

It was no easy task getting them out of that SUV with water rising up the windshield.  Two police officers and a firefighter jumped into the water and pulled the victims out through a broken passenger side window.  The victims didn`t even get wet. 

“[It was] treacherous going down the rocks in the snow, but they just felt they had to do what they had to do when we got the information that kids were in the car,” said St. Louis Police Lieutenant Mark Burford. 

“They were the ones who actually got the children out, going into the water, almost up to knee deep.  We also had another civilian that was walking his dogs on the other side that came down the hill right away,” Jenkerson said. 

He said a short span of roadway over the river “iced over” with so-called  black ic'; the driver couldn`t see it. 

There was ice down here on the road and apparently hit the patch of ice, lost control and went down that hill,” Lt. Burford said.  

Authorities said child safety seats and rescuers oblivious to the cold kept this from being a tragedy.

“That saved their lives as far as I’m concerned.  They rolled all down the embankment, came to rest upside down in about 1-1 and ½ feet of water,”' Jenkerson said. 

He said firefighters salted the icy patch to prevent any more spin outs.

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