Reservoir recovery

Aaron Krause • Jun 4, 2010 at 10:54 AM

An amateur dive team and White’s Automotive Services, LLC pulled out a 1999 Chevrolet Impala from the Norwalk Reservoir on Thursday morning after the driver attempted suicide by drowning Wednesday night.

Norwalk Police Capt. Eric Hipp said the 34-year-old Mansfield man got out of the car and walked to a relative’s home after the incident about 10:30 p.m. He eventually came to the police station about 1 a.m.

“He has been going through a lot of problems in his life. I don’t know what those specifically are, but that’s what he indicated to the officers,” Hipp said.

The man was admitted to Fisher-Titus Medical Center and interviewed by a mental health professional.

Bill Knadler, a Norwalk fire captain, and a North Fairfield diver who have done recreational diving together for about five years, were fully in the water at 10:07 a.m. Thursday.

The car was about halfway out of the water at 10:24 a.m. and almost completely out 12 minutes later. The rear passenger-side door and trunk were open. There were massive cracks throughout the front windshield, which also had buckled inward.

Knadler, when he was in the water, told the two-man White’s crew he was having a hard time finding a place to secure the hook attached to the tow truck.

“It’s down in the mud pretty good,” he said.

“I’m on it, right here. … I’m standing in the trunk,” said Knadler, whose torso was above the water.

The Impala was in 10 to 12 feet of water.

Soon after the car was recovered, Knadler said visibility in the water was 6 inches to 1 foot.

“(The driver) estimated he was going 15 to 20 mph. What probably happened is (the car) probably floated before it sank all the way,” Hipp said.

A full-time officer since April 1989, Hipp said a few stolen vehicles have been dumped into the reservoir in the last 10 to 15 years.

“It’s pretty rare,” he added.

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