UPDATE: Woman rescued from Salt Fork north of St. Joseph

UPDATE: Woman rescued from Salt Fork north of St. Joseph

ST. JOSEPH — Emergency responders have rescued a woman whose sport utility vehicle went into the rain-swollen Salt Fork north of St. Joseph.

Champaign County Sheriff’s Lt. Brian Mennenga said preliminary information is that at 10:29 a.m., an  SUV on County Road 1700 N, just west of 2200 E, was swept into the water as the driver tried to ford water that was too deep.

St. Joseph-Stanton Fire Chief Josh Reese said the woman's SUV was swept by the current to the south. She was spotted by a retired Champaign firefighter, Reese said, who kept his eyes on her while communicating with rescue workers.

Reese said the woman was able to get out of the SUV and rescue workers could see her the whole time she was in the water. She eventually grabbed on to a tree and held on. About 11:10 a.m., rescuers in a canoe grabbed her.

Reese said the woman was cold, conscious and breathing but unable to talk to them as they put her on a stretcher and took her to Carle Hospital.

Local firefighters got a hand from the Mahomet-based Cornbelt water rescue team. Champaign County sheriff’s deputies were also helping.

The SUV remains submerged.

Mennenga said there is a low area there that floods when there is heavy rain. He said some motorists mistakenly believe the roads are still passable. Reese said there were signs up warning of high water. He did not know if the woman was from the area and therefore familiar with the recurring flooding.

This is a developing story. NG Media's Tim Ditman and Stephen Haas are on the scene.

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whatithink wrote on February 21, 2018 at 3:02 pm

Your reporting is misleading!  She wasn't in the Salt Fork River!  She floated off in the farm field by the river.  If she would have been IN the river, she would've have been washed away and long gone.

Martin1 wrote on February 21, 2018 at 5:02 pm
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Where exactly is I-57 north of St Joseph ?

uhs1980 wrote on February 21, 2018 at 7:02 pm

This woman needs to be ticketed and also have to pay for all cost involved with her rescue.

GLG wrote on February 22, 2018 at 11:02 am

I agree! Driving around the road closed sign?   People like this have no regard for the first responders that could have drowned trying to rescue her!