Crime - Sacto 911

After six days, workers recover body and car submerged in Sacramento River

A recovery team works on pulling a car out of the Sacramento River on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. The car is believed to belong to a 48-year-old woman who was seen driving off Highway 160 on Jan. 15. The vehicle was located earlier this week, but river conditions were too dangerous for a dive team to recover the car.
A recovery team works on pulling a car out of the Sacramento River on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. The car is believed to belong to a 48-year-old woman who was seen driving off Highway 160 on Jan. 15. The vehicle was located earlier this week, but river conditions were too dangerous for a dive team to recover the car.

Deputies recovered a body and car Saturday that were submerged in the Sacramento River for nearly a week, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

Nichele Johnson, 48, lost control of her car and drove into the Sacramento River off Highway 160 near Isleton in south Sacramento County on Jan. 15. Witnesses called 911. Officials could not find Johnson or her vehicle that night.

On Monday, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Marine Unit found the vehicle using sonar technology just before sunset. Due to storms and runoff, a rescue attempt was deemed too risky. The department reached out to other departments and obtained a dive boat and dive team that could work in extreme conditions.

The recovery was planned for Saturday, during slack tide. Solano County’s Office of Emergency Services provided the boat and team, and was assisted by the California Highway Patrol, the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, the Coast Guard and the Isleton Fire Department. They recovered the body and car around 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

The Sheriff’s Department did not officially identify the body as Johnson’s because it said the Coroner’s Office still had to notify relatives. But the department did identify Johnson as the person seen driving the vehicle that plunged into the river.

CBS San Francisco station KPIX reported that Johnson is from Bay Point, in the East Bay.

Phillip Reese: 916-321-1137, @PhillipHReese

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