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Police and fire

Archie Ingersoll | The Journal Gazette
Part of the Tecumseh Street Bridge where a vehicle crashed and then plunged into the Maumee River early Saturday is blocked off.

Driver dies after plunge into Maumee

A driver died early Saturday after he lost control of a vehicle on the Tecumseh Street Bridge and plunged into the Maumee River, Fort Wayne police said.

The vehicle was traveling north across the bridge when it jumped a curb on the west side, plowed through a railing and landed in the river, police spokesman Officer John Chambers said.

Emergency crews were sent to the bridge about 12:30 a.m., and Fort Wayne Fire Department divers quickly found the man in the water outside the vehicle, which was submerged in the river, Chambers said.

Medics took the man to a hospital where he was pronounced dead soon after arriving, Chambers said. Authorities did not release the man’s name. The Allen County Coroner’s Office is expected to determine his cause of death.

Rescuers did not immediately know whether the man had any passengers, but they eventually concluded he had been driving alone, Chambers said.

What caused the man to lose control of the vehicle is unclear. The crash remains under investigation.

Chambers did not know what type of vehicle the man was driving. When Chambers was at the scene, the vehicle was underwater, he said. It was later pulled from the river.

Saturday evening, the 100-year-old limestone bridge was open to traffic, but the sidewalk on the west side was closed. A 20-foot section of the railing, made of reinforced concrete, was missing at a point where the bridge deck is about 25 to 30 feet above the water. Yellow tape and wooden barricades blocked off the open ledge.

The bridge, which connects the East Central and Lakeside neighborhoods, was built in 1913. In recent years, it underwent a renovation that cost more than $3 million.