Vehicle in pond northeast of Columbia

Emergency personnel responded about 8:30 p.m. Saturday to the report of a vehicle in a pond off Bluffside Road just south of Triple Lakes Road northeast of Columbia in rural St. Clair County.

The vehicle, a small white SUV, was running and a door was partially open but it was unoccupied in the water and there didn’t appear to be anyone around, per a fire official on scene.

Soon after, a man on scene told responders that the vehicle was his wife’s and that she had exited the vehicle safely and was at home.

According to a St. Clair County Sheriff’s report, Barbara C. Ratz, 58, of East Carondelet, was traveling in dense fog at the time and swerved to miss a deer. The vehicle went off the roadway and into a small pond, landing in approximately three feet of water.

Responding agencies included the Columbia Fire Department, Columbia EMS and the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department.

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