Woman Drowns After Driving Into Griggs Reservoir

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One person has died after their vehicle crashed into the murky waters of Griggs Reservoir in northwest Columbus Friday morning. 

The crash occurred in the 4000 block of Riverside Drive around 11 a.m.

Witness Joe Harp was cycling north on the bike path at Griggs Reservoir Friday morning when the accident occurred.   “I saw a car come across the grass about 15 miles per hour, and I was thinking, 'what are they doing?'" 

He called 911 immediately, while another bystander jumped in and tried to save the woman, but couldn’t get the door open.

When rescue divers got to the scene, the car had sunk in the roughly-16-feet-deep water, landing upside-down.

Columbus Police Dive Master Steven Kaethow says the water in the Griggs Reservoir is what is called “black water” that is totally dark.   “You literally cannot see your hand in front of your face,” he says.  "Without oxygen, the average human will die within four to five minutes."

The odds of surviving the accident were minimal, according to Tracy Smith, Columbus Fire Battalion Chief.    "In Griggs Reservoir, it's extremely murky water, visibility is pretty much a zero, and (divers) have to go by touch."

Smith says the driver was submerged in the water for over an hour.

The woman was taken to Riverside Hospital where she later died.

It's still not clear whether she drove in to the water deliberately, but police have ruled out foul play, and have not released her name.