Car, driver found below bluff in St. Joseph

Emergency responders work to remove a women from dense brush after she drove her car off the St. Joseph bluff along Lakeshore Drive on Monday. (Mark Parren | HP Correspondent)

Emergency responders work to remove a women from dense brush after she drove her car off the St. Joseph bluff along Lakeshore Drive on Monday. (Mark Parren | HP Correspondent)

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

ST. JOSEPH — A Benton Township woman was rescued Monday after driving off the St. Joseph bluff along Lake Michigan in what police believe was a suicide attempt.

Benton Township Deputy Chief Carl DeLand said the 45-year-old woman was reported missing at about 12:20 p.m. and was describd by the caller as potentially suicidal.

Police said the woman left notes to her family members indicating she was contemplating suicide.

Police eventually located the woman and her vehicle by tracking her cellphone. The car was found around 4 p.m. well below the bluff after the driver apparently drove off Lakeshore Drive just north of the Hilltop Road intersection.

“It was discovered that the subject in question had driven her car off of the bluff in St. Joseph near Hilltop, at what officers believed to be a low speed,” DeLand said in a news release. “This resulted in the subject’s car being wedged into some trees approximately 50 feet away from the edge of Lake Michigan.”

DeLand said Benton Township Police, St. Joseph Public Safety Department, Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, County Weigh Master and members of the Coast Guard worked together to locate the car along the shoreline.

The Coast Guard was called to search the shoreline, due to difficulty seeing through the dense brush, and helped direct police to the vehicle’s location.

The woman was uninjured and transported to Lakeland Medical Center, St. Joseph, for mental and physical evaluations.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on March 29, 2016)

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