A minivan partially submerged in Little Detroit Lake on the 1000 block of West Lake Drive caused quite a bit of concern Sunday morning.
Just after 9 a.m. Nov. 11, dispatchers received a call about a 2007 Chrysler Town and Country van sticking out of the water on the shoreline. When emergency crews arrived, they discovered the unattended vehicle in "relatively shallow water," about one or two feet deep.
Police Chief Steve Todd says the driver's side door of the vehicle was open and there was not a driver or any passengers at the scene.
Todd says the vehicle was removed from the water and, in the process of clearing the scene, officers found identification of who the driver of the vehicle was: Michael Stone, 28, of rural Detroit Lakes.
The scene was cleared but, when officers were unable to locate or contact Stone, the Detroit Lakes Fire Department and Becker County Dive Team were called back to the scene to make sure he was not trapped under the ice or near the scene suffering from hypothermia.
"Cell phone data showed he was still in the area," said Todd.
The fire department and dive team spent about an hour doing a more detailed search, but were still unable to locate anything. Near the end of the search, officers were finally able to validate that Stone was okay. It was discovered a friend had given him a ride home after his vehicle became stuck in the lake.
Kathy Mitchell, a woman who lives across the street from where the van was found, says she and her neighbor's property was damaged in the incident.
"It's hard to tell with the snow," said Mitchell. "There's rip rap here and there."
Mitchell says she was outside snow blowing her driveway around 7:30 that morning and didn't notice anything too peculiar. Some people appeared to pull over to get out and look at something and then drive on. A snowplow came through. It wasn't until she got to the end of her driveway that she was able to see the van partially submerged in the lake.
Mitchell took photos of the damage while officers cleared the scene. She says on her property there was a broken step, some broken planters, other miscellaneous broken bits. Her neighbors saw the brunt of it, she said, adding that part of their dock took a hit.
Stone faces four misdemeanor charges for the incident, including failure to notify owners of property damage, careless driving, driving with a revoked license, and possession of drug paraphernalia.