During our reporting on the Jan. 5 tragedy in Winona, where a car went into the Mississippi River and four people are believed to have drowned -- the body of one victim has yet to be recovered -- we asked for the transcript of the 911 call that first reported the accident. We received it in a timely way but didn't get it into the paper.
At this late date, I think it still have some value as public information on what happened that Sunday morning, so here's the transcript of the call logged at 7:19 a.m. by the Winona County dispatch center. The text is unedited aside from deleting the name and phone number of the caller.
The victims were last seen leaving a bar in Winona at about 1:20 a.m. Among the aspects of this tragedy that are hard to fathom: how did this go unnoticed near downtown Winona for what most likely was a period of several hours?
911 Dispatch: " 911 emergency"
Caller: "Hey, I was going fishing this morning over by, uh,(Se) Sinclair Conoco on the curve there .. Did you guys have a problem last night.. there is tire tracks .. there is open .. like something went through the ice."
911: "And where is that at?"
Caller: "You know where Sinclair is on River Drive there?"
911: "Oh, you mean Sinclair?"
Caller: "Yeah Sinclair yeah"
911 Dispatch: "Yep, yep"
Caller: "On river drive"
Caller: "Did something happen?"
911 Dispatch: "Not that I know of. Where do you see the tracks?"
Caller: "Ok, there is tire tracks going off down the dike and into the water. There is a big hole and there is some stuff laying on the ice, like tires and stuff."
911 Dispatch: "Tire tracks going over the dike."
911 Dispatch: "And into water and there is a hole in the ice."
911 Dispatch: "OK. What's your name sir?"
Caller: (deleted) I am in the parking lot. I was waiting for a police officer to come out. I see the vehicles running. I was trying to get a hold of somebody but.."
911 Dispatch: "you are in the LEC?"
911 Dispatch: "In the truck?"
911 Dispatch: "Yeah. I see you right now. Ok, what's your ... is your phone number? Is it (deleted)?"
911 Dispatch: "Ok, I will send somebody out to check that out. Alright?"
Caller: (brief inaudible) "Alright."
911 Dispatch: "Thanks. Bye."