Car plunges from bridge into Calumet River, killing father and injuring son

A father was killed and his son was rescued from a car that crashed into the Calumet River in Chicago on Sunday night.

The rescue operation took place near South Torrence Avenue in the South Deering neighborhood.

Witnesses said that around 8:15 p.m., a man driving a white sedan went through a retention net and into the water as the Torrence Avenue bridge was going up. 

The Chicago Fire Department said a 16-year-old was rescued by the crew of a nearby barge and rushed to the hospital in critical condition. His condition has since been upgraded to "good." 


The driver, a 39-year-old man, was also taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

The Cook County medical examiner's office identified him as Jaime F. Navarro.

Now, investigators want to know how the car got past the warning system and gate. The car appeared to fall off the bridge as it was being raised to allow boats to pass underneath.

The Torrence Avenu bridge is a vertical lift bridge, unlike the ones downtown over the Chicago River. The whole street is raised, using counterweights. A safety net goes in place behind the warning gate. It was in operation afterwards, stopping traffic. Firefighters took a walk to the scene and officials determined the car was not retrievable using a crane.

Police are working with the Army Corps of Engineers to remove the car from the Calumet River.