BOONE COUNTY, Iowa – The Boone County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a woman who became trapped in a submerged SUV Saturday.
The BCSO says 911 calls about a person trapped in the vehicle, which had rolled into the Des Moines River from the Fraser Boat Ramp, started coming in around 9:53 p.m.
People on the scene tried to rescue the person inside, later identified as 38-year-old Denise Kuhns of Boone/Grand Junction. They broke out multiple windows in an attempt to reach her, but the BCSO says it appears she was tangled or entrapped by belongings that were stored in the rear of the vehicle.
Officials say the SUV came to rest in about eight to 10 feet of water. When it was towed out of the water, Kuhns was discovered deceased in the SUV.
Deputies learned that Kuhns hadn’t been alone in the vehicle when it went into the water. Benjamin Murphy, 40, of Rippey/Fort Dodge told investigators a vehicle malfunction led to the SUV rolling backward down the ramp and into the water. He said he was initially trapped too but was able to get out through a rear passenger door.
Multiple witnesses were interviewed at the scene and the BCSO is continuing its investigation into the incident.