Body of Winona State student recovered from submerged car


La Crosse police say they recovered the body of a 21-year-old Winona State University student from Woodbury from a submerged car that fell through ice on a creek early Wednesday.

Police got a call about the incident at 1:30 a.m. New Year's Day from a transit worker who noticed tire tracks that veered off the street, over a 40-foot embankment and onto the ice, where there was a large hole, the La Crosse Tribune reports.

Investigators say it appears Ellen Ahmann did not negotiate a curve before plummeting down the embankment, the newspaper reports. Tire tracks indicate the vehicle did not immediately fall through the ice – it turned left and went south before breaking through, the Tribune reports.

Divers found the car in 6 to 8 feet of water, and it took about 12 hours to bring the vehicle to the surface, the newspaper reports. Ahmann's body was found inside.

WXOW in La Crosse notes that Ahmann's Facebook page says she was studying finance and accounting at Winona State.

An autopsy is planned for Friday in Madison.

Ahmann was "one-of-kind," a lover of bad jokes who made others laugh, a roommate told the Winona Daily News.

Ahmann planned to graduate in the spring. A professor told the Daily News she was a strong student, highly motivated and delightful in class.

"She was a girl who had goals set," Professor Don Salyards told the newspaper. "She was self-guided."

There are a few more images in the La Crosse Tribune:

Another young Wisconsin driver died on New Year's Day. Taylor Casey, 19, died in a 5:15 a.m. single-car accident in the town of Richmond, Wisconsin, the Pioneer Press reports. The 2002 Mercedes Benz sports utility vehicle he was driving went into a ditch and rolled and he was partly ejected, the newspaper reports. That crash is still under investigation.

In yet another incident, late on New Year's Eve night, a 14-year-old Inver Grove Heights boy was struck and injured by a car as he walked in the middle of Interstate 494 on the Wakota Bridge, which spans the Mississippi River between Washington and Dakota counties. His injuries were not life-threatening, police said.

The teen was hit by a car driven by a 22-year-old Cottage Grove woman. No alcohol was detected in her system, according to a police report.

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