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Central Square woman survives close encounter with the frigid St. Lawrence River

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LISBON - With temperatures hovering in the teens Wednesday night, rescue workers and contractors struggled for nearly two hours to remove a Mitsubishi SUV from the St. Lawrence River until they were asked to leave by the property owner.

State police said Barbara J. Baker, of Central Square, lost control of the SUV as she drove down a steep driveway at 20 Sullivan Dr., owned by Joseph E. Sullivan Jr., around 7 p.m. No tickets were issued.

Ms. Baker, 53, managed to get out of the vehicle, which was sitting in roughly two-feet of water, and sustained no injuries. The SUV landed in the water on all four wheels, with the water reaching just above the tires, though it sustained significant damage to the passenger’s side during the accident.

Members of the Lisbon Volunteer Fire Department on the scene said the vehicle was a total loss and crews with Richardson and Sons Excavating Contractors, Lisbon, and Route 11 Truck and Equipment Sales and Service, Canton, were quickly assembled to pull the SUV out of the river.

A large wrecker with a tow cable was used to lower a pickup truck loaded with winter sand down the steep driveway at Mr. Sullivan’s home that goes to the river.

The driveway, coated with ice, leads directly to the five-foot concrete retaining wall that Ms. Baker slide off of.

Richardson and Sons staff planned to sand the driveway enough so a heavy-duty wrecker with Route 11 Truck Sales would have enough traction to attach a cable to the SUV and pull it over the retaining wall.

At about 9 p.m. Mr. Sullivan said he would hire his own company to remove the SUV from the river and asked everyone to leave, Lisbon Fire Chief John McLear said.

Mr. McLear said Mr. Sullivan was concerned about damaging the retaining wall by dragging the SUV across it and was planning on bringing in a crane that would lift the vehicle out of the water.

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