Car crashes into Fairview Lake

Friday, February 1, 2008 | 5:39 p.m. CST; updated 6:48 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — A call from a passing motorist late Friday morning prompted Columbia firefighters, police and paramedics to go to the 2500 block of Rollins Road, where a blue Volvo station wagon was partially submerged in Fairview Lake.

James Froece, 71, the driver of the vehicle, was uninjured.

Froece told firefighters he was backing out of his driveway and, upon seeing traffic on Rollins Road, attempted to stop, according to a news release. Froece accidentally stepped on the accelerator and backed across Rollins Road and through a neighbor’s yard before sliding off a retaining wall and landing in the lake, according to the release.

Columbia Fire Battalion Chief Steven Sapp said accidents on this section of Rollins Road are not uncommon.

“We see accidents there both in summer and in winter,” Sapp said. “The curve there is deceiving, and when conditions are slick or you are driving too fast, it’s easy to have an accident.”

Froece was able to exit the car by opening the door and pulling himself up to step on the retaining wall before police and rescue arrived.

“He didn’t indicate he had any trouble,” Sapp said.

A towing company spent about an hour removing the car from the lake because it had to be moved perpendicular to the road, according to the release. Although pulling the car sideways while it was half in the water was slightly difficult, removing the car became easier after it was in the right direction, Sapp said.

Froece was not available for comment. His wife, Sally Froece, did not witness the accident but said her husband was a little bit dazed and shaken up after the incident.

“It was just sort of a freak accident,” Sally Froece said.

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