Driver dies after vehicle plunges into frigid river

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Courtesy of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office Dive team members from the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office work to rescue a 54-year-old woman from a submerged vehicle in the Spokane River in Post Falls on Monday. The female was later pronounced dead at Kootenai Health.

POST FALLS — A 54-year-old North Idaho woman died Monday after being pulled from a submerged vehicle in the Spokane River at Post Falls.

The Kootenai County Sheriff's Office had not released the woman’s identity as of deadline Monday night because the victim's next of kin had not been notified.

The woman was the driver and the only occupant in the black 2012 Volkswagen Touareg.

"The vehicle was completely submerged in approximately 20 feet of water," said Dennis Stinebaugh, spokesman for the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office.

Stinebaugh said the circumstances that led to the vehicle entering the river in a beach area just before 8 a.m. on private property off Anchor Way between Red Lion Templin's Hotel and Black Bay Park are unknown.

The water was 36 degrees. Stinebaugh said he didn't know how long the woman was inside the submerged vehicle.

A citizen called 911 after seeing the vehicle enter the water and sink.

The sheriff's office dive team, Post Falls Police and Kootenai County Fire and Rescue responded.

The woman was pulled from the vehicle but was unresponsive as medics began life-saving measures, Stinebaugh said. She was transported to Kootenai Health, where she was pronounced dead.

Stinebaugh said it's unclear whether vehicle speed, drugs, alcohol or other circumstances were a factor. An investigation continues. Foul play is not suspected, he said.

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