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Vehicle towed from waterway after woman drove down boat launch area in possible suicide attempt

A woman successfully escaped her vehicle and was transported for medical care Wednesday, after driving her car down the boat launch ramp into the Scappoose Bay.

In near freezing temperatures Wednesday afternoon, a Columbia County Sheriff's Office Marine Patrol unit skimmed the water near the Scappoose Bay Marina, looking for a sign of the sunken car.SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - A Columbia County Sheriff's Office deputy on a marine unit boat skims the Scappoose Bay for signs of a sunken vehicle Wednesday afternoon. The Sheriff's Office and other emergency response agencies were at the scene where a woman drove her vehicle into the bay.

A 46-year-old woman drove her white 2004 Pontiac Grand Am into the bay, but managed to escape before it became fully submerged, Columbia County Sheriff Sgt. William Haas said on scene Wednesday. She told deputies she was taking medication for existing mental health issues, but the medication wasn't working.

The woman was transported by Scappoose Fire District medical personnel for evaluation and will remain on a sheriff's hold.

"The driver was detained for the purposes of ascertaining whether the female driver was a threat to her own safety," Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson stated in an email. "She was taken to a Portland hospital for treatment of hypothermia and observation for potential mental illness."

As sheriff's boats traversed the narrow stretch of water, a tributary bordering the bay was frozen over, indicating deadly temperatures in the bay.

A Multnomah County Sheriff's dive team helped locate the car, and confirmed there was no one else still in the vehicle, before assisting sheriff's deputies with attaching a tow line to the Grand Am. By 4:30 p.m., the car was recovered from the water and was being towed out of the boat launch area.

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