Dozens gather to watch scene unfold at Bridge Street levee
Among the dozens of people who watched the scene unfold Sunday afternoon as authorities pulled a vehicle that was discovered in the Red Lake River along Bridge Street was someone who was very likely more interested in what was transpiring than everyone else.
That person was Todd Strem, because the burgundy Ford Taurus being towed up the riverbank was purchased by him and his wife, Julie, for their son, Cole, who lives in Grand Forks. Between conversations on his cell phone as he watched the scene from Central Park on the other side of the channel, Todd Strem said his son had been in Crookston about a week ago when the vehicle was stolen.
Sunday afternoon, anglers fishing from the floating dock near the public boat launch in Central Park said they noticed something at the top of the water across the channel, but couldn't make out what it was. Soon, however, some kids walking on top of the levee along Bridge Street, with a view from higher up, saw that it was a vehicle, with only a portion of the rear bumper and a North Dakota license plate barely showing above the water's surface.
A 911 call was made, and soon Crookston police officers and firefighters, along with Polk County deputies and personnel from Crookston Area Ambulance Service converged on the scene. Onlookers soon began gathering on the Bridge Street levee and, on the other side of the river, in Central Park.
The license plate number was subsequently radioed in and it was determined that the vehicle had been previously reported stolen. After it was determined that no one was inside the vehicle, an Advanced Tire & Auto Service tow truck was called and the vehicle was pulled up onto its side along the boulders that are part of the Jerome's Addition flood control project. The tow hooks, straps and chain were then reconfigured so the Taurus could tip back onto its wheels and be pulled up the river side of the levee.
Once it was out of the water, severe damage was apparent along the passenger's side of the vehicle, but it was not clear if the damage was inflicted before it was towed out, or during the tow when it came in contact with the boulders.
The investigation continues.