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Arlington Heights Man Dies After SUV Hits Townhouse, Electric Transformer and Sinks in Pond

Thu July 25 2013 3:19 pm
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Firefighter/paramedics and divers work to help a victim that was just removed from an SUV that was submerged in a pond (PHOTO CREDIT: Bethany Detert).

Arlington Heights police and firefighter/paramedics responded about 7:00 AM Thursday to a report of an SUV into a pond in the block of 1500 Courtland Arlington Heights at Arlington on the Ponds — a townhouse condo neighborhood, just west of John Hersey High School. Police and firefighter/paramedics received a report that an SUV was in a pond. Police and firefighters responded immediately and called for mutual aid from neighboring fire departments and dive teams.

How to Survive Your Vehicle Submerged in Water: No Time to Waste Calling 9-1-1; Get Window Open

A witness said a police officer and a neighbor jumped into the pond, but the car immediately became submerged and was too deep for the police officer or the neighbor to reach the SUV — 2013 Cadillac SXR. The neighbor, a 48-year-old man who knows the victim, tried to rescue him, and saw the driver talking on a cell phone inside the sinking SUV. The neighbor tried to rescue the man, but the car sank in about one minute.

VIDEO: Dive Teams working with mutual aid response for an attempt to rescue 89-year-old Henry E. Laseke after his SUV hit a townhouse deck support, electric transformer and plunged into a condo retention pond at Ponds of Arlington.

Within 40 minutes fire department dive teams had the victim out of the vehicle and the victim on shore. Hillside Towing of Arlington Heights was also on the scene for the rescue attempt and hoisted the car with a line, which brought the SUV to the surface.

Divers immediately broke a passenger side window and removed the victim from the vehicle. The driver was later identified as Henry E. Laseke, age 89, of the 1500 block of Courtland Drive.

The victim was transported in life-threatening medical condition to Northwest Community Hospital related to being submerged in water. Laseke was pronounced dead about 10:00 a.m. today.

Before hitting the water of the pond, the vehicle struck a ComEd ground transformer and a support beam to a second-floor deck. The collisions caused a fire in the transformer and the deck became unstable. The support beam was dragged to a point near the shore of the pond.

View Larger Map
An SUV was driven between the two townhouses on the east side of the pond, where it hit a support beam for a second-floor patio deck, a ComEd transformer, and eventually submerged in a pond on the northwest corner of the pond.

Another crew of firefighters setup sidescan sonar to look underwater for any other possible victims that may have escaped the vehicle, but may have still been in the pond. No other persons were found in the water.

A MABAS Division 1 Box Alarm was called for mutual aid for dive teams to respond to the incident at 7:16 a.m. Firefighter/divers from Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Palatine, Prospect Heights, Schaumburg and other communities assisted Arlington Heights firefighters and divers. A large Decontamination Truck also responded to decontaminate firefighters of possible pollutants in the pond. The truck is equipped with showers and other decontamination supplies and equipment.

Map of area where SUV was submerged in a pond …

Firefighters extinguish and cool down a ComEd ground transformer after it was on fire and ignited when it was hit by an SUV that ended up in a pond (PHOTO CREDIT: Bethany Detert).

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Arlington Heights Fire Engine

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    Sunday - Mostly cloudy. Light snow showers in the morning, then a chance of light snow showers in the afternoon. Snow accumulation up to 2 inches. Highs 15 to 19. Wind chills as low as zero to 10 below zero. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation 90 percent.
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