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2 bodies recovered from car that went into river in Winona

Published 10:04am Monday, January 6, 2014

WINONA — Authorities on Sunday recovered two bodies from a car that plunged into the Mississippi River in Winona.

The sheriff’s office received a call just before 7:30 a.m. reporting tracks and the possibility that a car had gone into the river. Responders found a broken guard rail on Riverview Drive, as well as a license plate, purse and other debris on the shore.

An underwater camera spotted the car, Winona County Sheriff Dave Brand said, and authorities pulled it out of the water around noon. The bodies of one male and one female were found inside, he said.

Brand told the newspaper that the woman was identified as Christina Lee Hauser, 36, of Winona. The name of the 30-year-old man was not immediately released.

Both victims were found wearing their seat belts. Autopsies in Rochester were planned.

The car was found on its wheels in the river, and its airbags were deployed. The car and its contents were taken to a heated garage for the investigation, the sheriff said.

This wasn’t the first fatal crash into the river in that area of Riverview Drive. Two Saint Mary’s University students and two graduates drowned March 1, 1997, when an SUV missed a curve and plunged into the river.