Passenger drowns after SUV drives into Van Buren lake

BANGOR TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- A passenger in a car drowned after an SUV drove into a Van Buren County Lake on Friday evening.

At 8:00 p.m. Friday, Van Buren County Central Dispatch sent officers to the scene of a traffic crash in Bangor Township.  Upon arrival, troopers discovered that the driver had been travelling westbound on the dead end portion of 36th Avenue west of County Road 687 when she drove into School Section Lake.

The female driver was able to swim to shore and walk to a home on County Road 687 where the homeowner called 9-1-1.  The male passenger in the vehicle was unable to make it to shore and disappeared beneath the surface of the water.

The lake was covered with 3 to 4 inches of ice at the time of the crash.

Troopers found the passenger car submerged to the top of the windows approximately 50 yards from shore.  The male passenger, 22-year-old Jezreel Wallace of Bangor, was located and pulled from the water approximately one hour later.  He was transported to Bronson Hospital in South Haven where he was later pronounced dead despite lifesaving efforts.

The driver, a 21-year-old woman from South Haven, was treated for injuries at Bronson Hospital in South Haven.

Police said alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash.

Michigan State Police troopers were assisted at the scene by officers from the Bangor Police Department, Covert Township Police Department, deputies from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office, Bangor Fire Department, Pride Care EMS and the Van Buren County dive team.

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