What started as a rescue operation in the Sacramento River last weekend turned out to be the dumping of an empty stolen vehicle, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Officer Bryan Konvalin said authorities received a call shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday of a vehicle that had gone into the river along South River Road south of Gregory Avenue, near West Sacramento.
CHP officers and other emergency personnel responded to the scene but could not find the car, Konvalin said. Witnesses reported that it had gone into the river with its headlights and interior lights on, but it was unknown whether the vehicle was occupied.
Konvalin said the CHP summoned the Sacramento Drowning and Accident Rescue Team to the river. Divers began searching for the car, but had to suspend their search due to weather conditions. On Monday, divers returned to the scene and located a 2012 BMW shortly before 9 p.m.
The car had been reported stolen from El Dorado Hills, and Konvalin said there were no indications anyone had been inside the vehicle when it went into the water.
Saturday’s incident marked the second report in the past month of a car in the river to which the Woodland CHP responded. On March 13, 58-year-old Musarrat Chaudhary of West Sacramento drowned after her car plunged into the Sacramento River off Old River Road, north of West Sacramento.
Chaudhary had called her daughter to report the brakes had failed on her Toyota Camry just before she drove into the water. That incident remains under investigation by the CHP’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team, Konvalin said.