CARBONDALE, Ill. (STMW) — Two women, ages 20 and 21, both from the Chicago area, drowned early Sunday when the car they were in went into a lake near the southern Illinois town of Carbondale.

The accident happened shortly after 3 a.m., according to a release from the Jackson County Coroner’s office.

Carbondale Police were notified by a 911 call at approximately 3:18 a.m. that a vehicle had driven off the boat launch area at the Cedar Lake access south of Carbondale and had submerged into the lake, the release said.

It was reported that five people were in the car and three of them had managed to escape from the vehicle shortly after the accident and before it became totally submerged.

The two people who were in the front seat — 20-year-old Marielle A. Carson, the driver, and 21-year-old Latisha A. P. Ray — were unable to get out of the car and were feared drowned, the release said.

Carbondale Police responded to the scene along with Jackson County Ambulance Service and the Carbondale Fire Department. An area Dive Team from Union County was requested for assistance with recovery efforts.

Shorty after 7 a.m. the car was located and removed from the lake, the release said.

In the car were Carson and Ray, who were both from the Chicago area and were attending college — Carson at John A. Logan College in downstate Carterville and Ray at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale — the coroner’s office said.

Carson’s home address was listed as in the 100 block of 83rd Street in Chicago, and Ray’s current home address was in the 900 block of East Park South in Carbondale, according to the coroner’s office. They were both pronounced dead at the scene.

A preliminary examination revealed that both women died as a result of drowning. Results of toxicology tests were pending as of Sunday morning.

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