Driver drowns near East Carondelet levee

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Keith Czapla Sr., 58, of Dupo, died after his vehicle drove off the road and got stuck on an embankment at the Mississippi River levee in East Carondelet early last Wednesday evening. The man then fell into slough water.

The incident occurred about 5:30 p.m. near the intersection of South Sixth Street and State Street in East Carondelet.

St. Clair County Deputy Coroner Dennis Nichols said the theory is that Czapla, who was driving on the levee side of State Street, saw that the rural road he was driving on had water on it and attempted to reverse.

When he backed up, it appears his vehicle slid down the embankment at a steep angle into the water. Czapla, who Nichols said had some medical problems, was then physically unable to make it back up the embankment. He drowned.

The St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency said St. Clair County Emergency Services Water Rescue was requested to remove the body from the river.

Police are investigating the incident.

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