Police found a 28-year-old East Moline woman dead in a car submerged in the Mississippi River this morning, Rock Island County Coroner Brian Gustafson said.

Gustafson believes the woman, whose name has not yet been released, lost control in the 4500 block of River Drive, Moline, and went in the river.

“I think she lost control and went in,” Gustafson said. “Moline police and I continue to investigate this aggressively.”

A Moline police officer on patrol spotted a red, four-door Pontiac Grand Prix submerged in the river shortly after 3 a.m., Moline Police Detective Scott Williams said. It is unknown at this time exactly when the car went in.

The Moline Fire Department responded and was able to mark the vehicle for rescue divers.

Volunteer members of the Big River Rescue/Recovery Dive Team responded. With the assistance of the Moline Police and Fire Departments, along with Quad-City Towing, the vehicle was pulled from the river.

Gustafson declared the woman, the only occupant of the car, dead at the scene.

The neighbors in the 4500 block of River Drive assisted with providing a warm area for the divers as they rotated from the vehicle, Williams said. Their assistance and willingness to help the rescue teams was greatly appreciated by the responding rescuers, he said.

Moline Police Traffic Investigators continue to reconstruct the crash in their search for a cause.

Anyone who has information that may assist investigators is asked to call the Traffic Division of the Moline Police Department at 309-524-2214.

Body found inside vehicle pulled from Mississippi River

Rick Rector

EARLIER REPORT: A submerged vehicle was pulled from the Mississippi River this morning.

The car went into the river near 41st Street and River Drive in Moline.

The body of one occupant was found inside, police said. The female was declared dead at the scene by Rock Island County Coroner Brian Gustafson.

A police officer passing by saw the vehicle’s tail lights in the river at  3:15  a.m.

The vehicle was pulled from the river around 8:30 a.m.

Traffic was diverted from the area while crews pulled the vehicle from the river.

Moline police traffic investigators continue to reconstruct the crash in their search for a cause.

If anyone has information they believe would assist investigators they are asked to call the Traffic Division of the Moline Police Department (309) 524-2214.

Neighbors in the 4500 block of River Drive assisted with providing a warm area for the divers as they rotated from the vehicle.  

Vehicle in river in Moline

EARLIER REPORT: There are reports out of Moline this morning of a vehicle submerged in the Mississippi River at 41st Street and River Drive.

It is unknown if anyone was inside.

Commuters could face delays during their morning commute as crews work to pull the vehicle from the river, so you might want to take an alternate route.

(24) comments


I am so sorry to hear about Leah. We were friends a few years ago, until we lost contact. Her daughter and mine were friends too. Leah was a wonderful person and mother. So full of life and love. Our prayers are with the family. Leah taught her daughter to be a strong person, hopefully that will help her get through this horrible time in her young life.

Bdorf Res

Again, easy for you all to say in the warmth behind your computers. If it were my family member I would be devastated and my heart goes out to the family but you have to look at it from the first responder's family also. The other news story said it was extremely challenging for professional divers, they had to be harnessed to even stay where they were supposed to and not drift with the strong current and rotated out so they don't freeze to death and basically try to go into blindness. For a police officer to jump in the freezing cold river by himself with no gear at 3am would be just another casualty and tragedy to another family. He would not have been able to rescue her no matter how you look at it. He would not have been able to open the doors of a vehicle submerging and rescue someone and pull them out of the river on his own. By the time the quickest first responders could reach the scene I'm sure they realized the chances of a successful rescue and the dangers of losing others. It is a horrible thing for the family, especially around the holidays and I'm so sad for the little girl, but don't but the blame on the officers and fire dept because they do help and rescue every single day, do you?


Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and assumptions. As Leah's sister I would like to thank everyone on behalf of my family for their kind words. None of the "what ifs matter anymore". Would've could've and should've won't bring my sister back. But her memory will live on in everyone who loved her.


Very sorry for you loss, I just lost my Father Wednesday, so I know what you are going through. God Bless.

Bdorf Res

If you weren't involved personally in the rescue it's completely unfair and crazy to say things like who should've jumped in and did what. As we all see from the drownings, even in the broad daylight in the warm weather, the river is unpredictable and very dangerous. It's incredibly sad that the woman died and a tragedy, but no one should put blame on the officer or first responders that lay their lives on the line for us everyday. They can't just jump in the river in the dark by themselves. I know a lot of first responders and every death or unsuccessful rescue is hard on them. If there were a way for them to get the girl out safely they would have done it. I don't know for sure, but I know in many situations if the first responders weren't certified to jump in the water and they ended up getting seriously injured or died as a result they probably wouldn't even be covered or their families taken care of because they didn't follow protocol. It's easy for people to give their opinion behind a computer when they were in the freezing cold river in the morning trying to get the girl out.


There needs to be some type of light to go underwater for visibility that is 4 inches or less.

Really?! Hopefully my loved ones or myself don't have an accident in the river. There won't be a good enough rescue.

I understand there is protocol, but 4 hours later to dive in? This is horrible just as bad as the call the police made last week in Bettendorf. There needs to be more research and more rescue help.


I don't see how it's feasible to lose control and end up in the river. I suppose it's possible, but that certainly wouldn't be my first thought.

Was it at 45th or 41st? There's a major difference in the distance to the water.

My Velina
My Velina



Do you guys have ANY information on this?!?!?! Or are you going off of what the times prints? Armchair quarterbacks are the worst.....Ive never heard of a fire dept NOT rescuing someone, or atleast attempting to....Theres obviously more to the story than you scanner jockeys know


Ummm maybe just maybe.....no.....the times and all news stations stated the officer spotted the cars lights in the river shortly after 3 a.m. The car was recovered around 8:30 a.m. One news station stated divers entered the water after 7 a.m.

Weasal old pal! ........ Your right, the distance between the road and water is a lot. Maybe she was in the parking lot there and tried putting the car in reverse and accidentally put the car in drive....?...... Maybe she was coming from the little road near by and ran the stop sign and drove right in the water.....

This is just a sad story..no one will never know what really happened.


My Velina
My Velina

Stop with your theories! They are bothering our family.


@My Velina - I too knew the victim. In all kindness, I would suggest that you and your family stay off these comment boards. People are going to say some very hurtful things when times are so raw right now for you.


Yes, you know my secret. I'm a scanner jockey.....

Yes I do have information on this... The news has supplied me with it.. Of course there is more to this than any of us know.

My Velina
My Velina

She was my cousin and she left behind a 11 year old daughter!


Very sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers to you and your family.


Sorry for your loss


Oh, my bad. The news is always correct.....


EmmaBelle, I agree with you COMPLETELY! I also saw this story this morning on the news and thought to myself....why the heck are they waiting until DAYLIGHT for a rescue attempt?! What the heck is wrong with a flood light?! If I saw this happen, I would have jumped my a** into the river and pulled her out myself.

My Velina
My Velina

The officer who was passing by and saw my cousin's lights should have tried to save her!


I so agree. I'm so sorry for your loss.


I also would like to know...if the cars tailights were seen by an officer & the car not fully submerged why more effort wasn't made to safe anyone in the car. Or did they just figure...oh just another drunk we will pull them out in the morning. Terrible!!!


I really think it is aweful that they took so long to do anything or even check if anyone was in the car. For all they know she may have been alive and struggeling to get out when the officer first saw the car. Makes no sense to me why he did Nothing for hours.


I agree! This is sad.
They have flood lights ,waterproof lights and what not. I don't get why it took so long.

Great neighbors! There are some kind people left in the QC!


I saw this come over Twitter at about 4 am. I realize the Mississippi is muddy and the water colder than a body can stand. However, they did nothing to see if anyone was in the car until after the sun came up. I was a State Certified First Responder. Moline sits on the banks of the river and as far as I know it has sat there for a long time! If it were my loved one that was left for 4 hrs and then found dead I would be screaming. There should be better preparedness for such an emergency for a city of Moline's size on the banks of the river.

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