LIMA — A man who drove his car through a fence and plummeted into the icy Ottawa River overnight was lucky to be alive.
Officers responded at 2:50 a.m. Friday to reports of a man walking on East Elm Street with his face covered in blood and wearing wet clothing. They came across 35-year-old Robert Smith III, of Lima. It was so cold, Smith’s wet clothes had frozen to his body, police reported.
Smith was taken to an area hospital to be treated for cold weather and minor facial injuries. Several hours later, Smith said he may have driven his car into the river somewhere, police reported.
Officers were sent to the area and found a car in the river near the intersection of South Jackson and East Elm streets. From what officers could tell, it appears the driver drove south on Jackson Street, through the Elm Street intersection and veered toward the river, police reported.
The driver drove through a fence and plummeted 20 feet down into the Ottawa River. He freed himself from the car and swam ashore, police reported.
Alcohol may be a factor in the incident, according to police. The crash remains under investigation, police reported.
The Lima/Allen County Dive Team was dispatched to the scene to remove the car from the river.