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No Foul Play, Mechanical Issues In Woman’s Drowning

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Car In Pond At Harper College

A rescue diver searches for possible victims after a car went into a pond at Harper College in Palatine. A woman had already been pulled out of the water earlier. She was later pronounced dead. (Credit: CBS)

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Updated 03/25/11 – 4:28 p.m.

PALATINE, Ill. (WBBM/CBS) – Police said neither mechanical issues nor foul play were a factor in the death of a woman whose car plunged into a pond on the Harper College campus in northwest suburban Palatine on Thursday.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel reports, divers pulled Victoria Auer, 64, of the 2400 block of Yarrow Lane in Rolling Meadows, from a vehicle that was found submerged in a pond on the north side of the Harper College campus in Palatine Thursday afternoon.

Investigators inspected the car and have ruled out mechanical issues as a cause, and also said foul play was not involved, Burdick said.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mary Frances Bragiel reports

Auer was pronounced dead soon after she was taken to Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights.

An autopsy Friday determined she died of drowning, heart disease and chronic alcoholism, according to the medical examiner’s office. Her death was ruled an accident.

Investigators looking into Auer’s background found no current connection to the school. Harper College spokesman Phil Burdick said Auer was not currently enrolled there.

“The only connection that she had to Harper is that she took several continuing education classes in 1997 and 1998,” Burdick said.

Emergency crews got a call about noon Thursday from a student who saw a gray sedan almost completely submerged in the pond near Parking Lot 12 at the school, located at 1200 W. Algonquin Rd., Burdick said.

The pond where the car was found is located near Euclid Avenue and Roselle Road. Burdick said a motorist would have to be on campus and drive through a parking lot before they would come across that pond.

“You’d have to intentionally drive onto the campus to get to that pond,” he said.

Officials say they have no witnesses just yet, as the school is in the middle of spring break.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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