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Coroner: Man who died after driving into pond had medical event prior to crash

Photo by Lake and McHenry County Scanner.

A Round Lake Beach man who died after driving his car into a pond in Libertyville Monday had a medical episode that caused him to crash, the coroner said.

Emergency crews were called at 4:45 p.m. Monday to a report of a car that drove into a pond in front of the Poko Loko Early Learning Center, 1601 Northwind Boulevard in Libertyville.

Fire officials arrived at the scene and found a gray four-door sedan that was in the water but not fully submerged. The driver, later identified as Abner Abdiel Melgar-Barrientos, 38, of Round Lake Beach, was initially unconscious and trapped in the car but woke up, Libertyville Fire Chief Rich Carani said.

Photo by Lake and McHenry County Scanner.

Melgar-Barrientos then panicked and something happened when the car then submerged into the water with him still trapped, Chief Carani added.

The Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) was utilized which brought in divers and specialized equipment from across Lake County. Divers were able to extricate Melgar-Barrientos from the submerged car and get him out of the water after about 20-25 minutes.

Melgar-Barrientos was transported to Advocate Condell Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead. An autopsy performed on him Tuesday morning showed the cause of death was drowning.

Photo by Lake and McHenry County Scanner.

The Lake County Coroner’s Office added that Melgar-Barrientos had a medical event which caused the crash. Routine toxicology screening is pending.

“We have been in contact with his family and friends and our deepest condolences go out to them. This is certainly a terrible tragedy,” Lake County Coroner Dr. Howard Cooper said.

Heavy traffic delays were reported along Route 45 near the scene at the time of the incident.


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