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Woman found dead after vehicle enters rain-swollen creek in Gwinnett

Lilburn police are investigating the death of a woman whose body was found inside her vehicle after she left the road and enter a rain-swollen creek.
Lilburn police are investigating the death of a woman whose body was found inside her vehicle after she left the road and enter a rain-swollen creek.
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A woman died Monday after driving into a rain-swollen creek in Gwinnett County. And firefighters as well as police are trying to determine what caused the woman to leave the roadway.

So far, the woman has not been identified and her body has been transported to the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy, according to Lilburn police.

Several witnesses called 911 around 12:30 p.m. to report that the vehicle had left the roadway and entered the river below Harbins Road, police spokesman Capt. Thom Bardugon said.

“A witness at the scene stated that they saw the vehicle enter the waterway and head downstream with the engine area submerged in the water,” Mr. Bardugon said.

Gwinnett County firefighters and a swift-water team were called to the scene where crews entered the water to attempt to locate and rescue the driver.

But they weren't able to find the vehicle or the driver.

“The river was swollen from the heavy rains and runoff from up the river,” Mr. Bardugon said. “Crews backed out of the river to await the inflatable river boat to do a thorough search.”

The boat arrived and was deployed at the Harbins Bridge, he said. The crews did a systematic search until they found the vehicle.

More than three hours after running into Jackson Creek, the woman was found dead inside her vehicle, police said.

Shortly after 4 p.m., a wrecker truck responded to the area to remove the vehicle from the water. Crews were still working late Monday to remove the vehicle, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

"They were further downstream in the bend of the river where there's a lot of debris, trees, and what we call strainers," Gwinnett Fire spokesman Lt. Colin Rhoden said.

One witness, Mr. George Ruiz, told the AJC he saw a car in the water and tried to drive his own truck to a spot to help, but was stuck in mud.

"It's a helpless feeling," Mr. Ruiz said. "All you can see is the car going down and starting to go under and there's not a whole lot you can do."

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