March 9, 2007
For the second time in months a car was abandoned in the Rivanna River.
Albemarle County Police said the problem is people go off-roading in the area behind Polo Grounds Road and don't realize the dangers near the river and get themselves stuck.
A Toyota was spotted by neighbors Friday morning. It's not the first car found abandoned in the Rivanna.
“One floated down like that a month or two ago,” said Mark Terlesky, who lives along the river.
Friday, rescue crews made sure no one was trapped inside and that no one ended up in the water.
“The water was very cold and you are not going to be able to survive very long staying in the water. Probably 15 minutes would be your limit. So obviously, they made it out in that short time span,” said Albemarle County Police Sgt. Scott Cox.
Police tracked down the owner of the vehicle and confirmed they were right. She said friends had been driving and made it out okay.
The last time a jeep found its way into the river, that driver made it out okay too.
In each case they were probably four wheeling when they spun into trouble.
“There's a place when's the water is low enough that jeeps, and ATVs can cross the river. Right now, the water is up a little high so they might slip off that ledge down by the river,” said Terlesky.
“As high as the river is they are very lucky that nobody got hurt,” said Cox.
And lucky they can't be charged. There are no laws against off-roading or abandoning your vehicle. You are however responsible for getting your car out.
“How they got the last one out they did it overnight. They came down at night time and wrenched it out,” Terlesky said. “I'm sure this one will be gone tomorrow probably.”
The land owner could press trespassing charges. We made calls to the real estate agent of the property owner and have not heard back whether they will do so.