ELYRIA – Police are investigating how a Kia SUV stolen sometime late Tuesday ended up upside down in the Black River on Wednesday afternoon.
No one was found in the vehicle, and officers were trying to determine how the black 2018 Sorrento ended up in several feet of water at the bottom of a tall cliff off Ford Road, Elyria police Capt. Chris Costantino said.
Costantino said the crash was called in shortly before 1 p.m. by a golfer playing at the Valley of the Eagles Golf Club on the eastern shore of the river.
Elyria Fire Department and LifeCare ambulance crews staged on Ford Road behind the Golden Corral restaurant as water and rope rescue personnel prepared for the rappel down to the vehicle.
Costantino said the SUV was reported stolen Tuesday night from an apartment complex on nearby Fox Hill Lane, just across West River Road from the crash scene.
According to a police report, the vehicle owner met with an officer at 2:50 a.m. Wednesday after discovering his vehicle missing from where he parked it outside his apartment at 6:30 p.m. the previous evening.
The owner told police he locked the vehicle and went inside after returning home from work. Later, around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, the man's girlfriend arrived and told him his car was not parked outside, according to a police report.
A GPS track of the car showed it was still in the area of West River Road North and Fox Hill Lane, police reported. A search of the area turned up no sign of the vehicle until it was found at 12:58 p.m. Wednesday at the bottom of the cliff.
Costantino said earlier reports of two vehicles in the water were incorrect. Rescuers mistook debris from the Kia for part of a second car.
Costantino said the logistics of how to remove the SUV from the river would have to be worked out later. The removal likely will have to be from the Valley of the Eagles side, he said.
The Lorain Fire Department and Lorain County Dive Team also responded to the scene.
Ford Road was closed between West River Road and an access road behind Planet Fitness while crews worked.