Woman commits suicide by driving into Detroit River

Photo by Gabriel Goodwin
The Wayne County Sheriff’s Marine Division searches for the vehicle and the body of Carol Emans Monday. Sonar detected what was believed to be the truck about 11 p.m. and divers searched the area to locate the vehicle for another four hours. Investigators said there was about two feet of visibility and the intermittent rain played a large part in the six-hour search and recovery of the vehicle.

Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE — Investigators concluded a woman who drove into the Detroit River Monday wanted to commit suicide.

Police Chief Daniel Grant said 54-year-old Carol Emans, a Redford Township resident, parked the vehicle in Bishop Park, then sped up and drove into the river to commit suicide.

“There was no accident about it,” Grant said. “She was intending on killing herself.”

He said witnesses saw the windows down on the vehicle and, according to an unnamed witness, the pickup stayed afloat for about 64 seconds. Grant said that was more than enough time to attempt an escape from the vehicle.

Doris Michael said she witnessed the incident from her carport about 8:45 p.m. She said Emans threw a beer bottle out of the window, which drew her attention to the red 2005 Toyota Tundra X-Runner. Michael wanted to approach the driver about littering in the park, she said, but before she knew it “the woman just took off, squealing the tires.”

Michael said the erratic driving late at night isn’t out-of-the-ordinary in the Bishop Park parking lot because people do burnouts and speed through the parking lot frequently.

Michael said she assumed Emans was taking off toward Van Alystine Street, but it wasn’t until Emans jumped the curb and continued toward the guardrail that she realized the her true intentions.

Michael said she believed Emans drove with a purpose because she didn’t hit anything in the parking lot.

“There was hardly anybody down there,” Michael said. “Thank God. I mean she didn’t run into a car. Nothing. All the way down. That person waited. They knew when to go. They had their mind made up and that’s the sad part about it.”

Michael said there were other people in the park that night who yelled for Emans to get out, but she didn’t. Michael said they saw Emans with a half-smile on her face.

Neither Michael nor the other witnesses could see how many occupants were in the vehicle as it went by them, and many believed there could have been up to three occupants.

Grant said that Emans was the only occupant of the vehicle and there were no other injuries or fatalities suffered that night. He said he spoke with Emans’ relatives and they said she was battling depression for a long time.

The vehicle was located about 11 p.m. Monday using sonar equipment, while the body of Emans was found about 2 a.m. Tuesday because of low visibility and intermittent heavy rain. The vehicle was pulled out of the water about 3:15 a.m.

The Downriver Underwater Search and Recovery Team, Wayne County Sheriff’s Marine Division and U.S. Coast Guard provided assistance to Wyandotte Police and Fire departments during the search for Emans’ vehicle and body.

(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at ggoodwin@bewickpublications.com.)