Updated 07/25/13 – 11:53 a.m.
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (CBS) – An elderly man has died, after crashing his SUV into a retention pond in northwest suburban Arlington Heights, and spending up to 40 minutes underwater Thursday morning.
CBS 2’s Kris Gutierrez reports the 90-year-old man crashed a Cadillac SUV into an electrical transformer and a townhome in the Arlington on the Ponds subdivision around 7:15 a.m.
The car then plunged into a retention pond behind the man’s home, and he was trapped inside the vehicle.
Neighbors said they heard a loud boom, and then their power went out around the time of the crash.
One woman who lives in the subdivision described what she saw after hearing that noise.
“A car sinking, my two neighbors trying with great effort to save the person inside,” Janeen Ross said. “They kind of were shouting orders to each other, but I couldn’t tell you, because it was anxiety and frantic.”
Arlington Heights Police Cmdr. Michael Miljan said a police officer arrived minutes after neighbors called 911 about the crash.
“The initial officer on the scene, along with a neighbor, attempted to do a water rescue. At the time that they arrived at the scene, the back end of the vehicle was still out of the water. The vehicle was sinking,” he said.
The police officer and neighbor were unable to rescue the man. Later, fire department divers and a tow truck were able to get the SUV out of the water, and the driver out of the vehicle.
“The vehicle was removed from the water. At that time, the 90-year-old driver of the vehicle was removed from the vehicle, treated by the paramedics, and transported to the hospital,” Miljan said.
The man had spent about 35 to 40 minutes in the pond after the SUV went in the water, police said.
The driver was taken to Northwestern Community Hosptial in critical condition. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office said he was later pronounced dead.
Arlington Heights police were investigating what caused the man to crash the vehicle.