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'I Don't Want To Die Here': Man Survives Driving Into Lake St. Clair

GROSSE POINTE SHORES (WWJ) - A man escapes serious injury after the SUV he was driving slid off of Lakeshore Drive into Lake St. Clair.

The man, 50-year-old Richard Belisle of St. Clair Shores, managed to escape through the window and make his way out of the water, he had hypothermia and received treatment and then made his way back to the scene of the splash where he spoke with WWJ's Charlie Langton.

"I was like, wait a minute, I don't want to go swimming yet," said Belisle, "I was like, I don't want to die here - so once I broke the window - I got out and started yelling for help - once I started hanging on the cement wall, I was just glad I was safe.

"I was like, well, Dukes of Hazzard here, I got right up on top of the car and make a jump for the landing -- the shore -- I got out through the door window, you know, squeeze in the gut and go for the gusto."

"According to the driver, he was the only occupant in the vehicle -- he broke through the hatch - he crashed in the sunroof. The car is sitting on the bottom, the water is so rough that it looks a lot deeper than it is, but he was able to get himself out - the car was closer to the break-wall ... it was so cold he couldn't get himself out, we were able to assist him up and out at that point," said Lt. Kenneth Werenski with the Grosse Pointe Shores police.

Police divers worked in bitter cold to remove the vehicle from the water. It's the second time in a few weeks that a car has gone off Lakeshore Drive -- this time between Moross and Vernier.

WWJ listener Alex Haggart says that winds from the Canadian side of the water are making for very choppy waves:

"The rear hatch appears to be broken on the vehicle -- it looks to be an SUV, black in color, the sunroof is broken out -- so I'm assuming all occupants have been removed at this time," said Haggart from the scene.


"It's very rough, the winds are coming out of the Canadian side - and it's really putting up quite a chop of three to five foot waves so in between waves, in between crests you see just the roof-line of the car appear," said Haggart.


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