The body of a man found a car submerged in the frigid waters of a suburban retention pond over the weekend was identified Tuesday—while divers continue to search for a possible second body.
Christopher Stone, 27, of the 18700 block of Stony Island Avenue in Chicago Heights, was found dead inside the vehicle Monday, the Cook County medical examiner’s office confirmed.
Police were called to the 3000 block of Lincoln Highway (US Route 30) in Lynwood around 12:30 p.m. Sunday after a 911 call reporting that a car had went off the road and into a sanitation district retention pond between Torrence Ave and IL-83, according to the Lynwood Fire Department.
There were no barricades around the water at the time, police said, but they were installed shortly after the search went underway.
First responders were on the scene within minutes. Emergency crews spent several hours searching the pond for victims Sunday amid freezing temperatures and wind chill values that the National Weather Service warned could create conditions for frostbite or hypothermia to set in in just 30 minutes.
One police officer, who had jumped into the pond to try to make a rescue, had to be treated at an area hospital. Another diver also was taken to the hospital to be treated for exposure.
It took search teams working in 13 minute shifts two hours to find the vehicle, which was about 60 to 70 feet from where it sunk in the water and buried in silt up to the windows, police said, leaving them unable to see the license plate. Authorities then declared it was a recovery mission.
A passerby on the scene told NBC 5 two people were inside the car, but police were unable to confirm that at the time.
As air temperatures fell well below zero and wind chills neared minus 30 degrees across the Chicago area, the recovery efforts were temporarily suspended as authorities said they didn’t want to risk any more lives.
Why the car went into the water is still unclear.