Driver drowns near Savanna

Emergency personnel Monday morning, Oct. 21, pull a vehicle, which had been completely submerged, from the Mississippi River at Miller’s Landing on Marina Road, across from the north entrance to Mississippi Palisades State Park. The body of the driver, Curtis H. Petersen, 71, Park Forest, was found floating nearby in the river.

A suburban Chicago man drowned north of Savanna after he accidentally drove into the Mississippi River.

The body of Curtis H. Petersen, 71, of Park Forest, who suffered from dementia, was recovered early Monday morning, Oct. 21, from the river at Miller’s Landing on Marina Road, across from the north entrance to Mississippi Palisades State Park, according to Carroll County Sheriff Jeff Doran.

The sheriff’s department received a 911 call from people launching their boat at 5:08 a.m. Monday of a body floating in the river. Emergency personnel retrieved Petersen’s body and he was pronounced dead by the Carroll County Coroner’s office.

Preliminary investigation showed that Petersen was alone while trying to travel to his residence in Park Forest. He became lost and was traveling west on Marina Road, a dead-end road that only travels a short distance to a boat launch and parking area.

“It appears that Petersen, who suffered from dementia, became confused and accidentally drove into the Mississippi River,” said Sheriff Doran.

The Savanna Fire Department and Illinois State Conservation Police conducted a lengthy search of the river and eventually located the vehicle that Petersen had been driving. The Scales Mound-Galena dive team assisted with removing the vehicle from the river.

Assisting the sheriff’s office at the scene were the Savanna Police Department, Savanna Ambulance, Savanna Fire Department, Illinois State Conservation Police, Scales Mound Fire Department, Galena Fire Department and J&S Towing.