A father has died after accidentally driving his car into a Michigan lake – but in his final moments as the car sank, he allegedly opened the car’s hatch, allowing his young daughters to swim to safety, the court said. police.
Jon Paul Dowler, 52, died early Sunday morning after his car plunged into the freezing waters of Lake Macatawa in Ottawa County, MLive reported, citing police.
Investigators believe Dowler’s car ended up in the water after he got lost while driving on a dark road in southern Park Township that descends to the lake, according to the report.
As the front of the car began to sink, police said they believe Dowler had activated a hatch opening in the front of the car so her daughters, aged 8 and 10, could escape. escape, according to Ottawa County Sheriff Lt. Eric Westveer.
“He was trying to break his windows to get out. Looks like he may have blown “the hatch to let his girls out,” Westveer said. The hatch was found open when the submerged car was recovered.
The girls reached the shore around 2 a.m., soaked. Police said they searched the neighborhood for help, but as many houses on the lake were empty for the winter, they were forced to huddle together on a porch until daybreak.
The sisters knocked on the front door of a house about 200 yards from the shore around 9 a.m. They were still wearing their soaked clothes and had lost their shoes.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather data shows it was 31 degrees Sunday morning.
Police said they spoke to the traumatized girls, but it is still unclear where they went or where they came from. The family are from Otsego, about 40 miles southeast of Park Township.
“We always try to talk to the girls. Looks like they were lost and disoriented. They were trying to get home,” Westveer said, adding that “it seems like a pure accident.”