Mustang Convertible Drowns After Rolling Into Illinois River

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2014 Mustang in the water

Painful to watch, but it is a stark reminder to make sure your Mustang is in park with the e-brake engaged.

Imagine driving your Ford Mustang convertible to a local waterfront to go for a peaceful walk, only to return to the parking lot to find that your beloved pony car has rolled into deep water. That is exactly what happened to the owner of the Grabber Blue 2014 convertible shown above. As is the greatest fear of many Mustang owners, the car is a complete loss.

Fateful Walk

According to, an unnamed man drove his 2014 Ford Mustang convertible to the Grafton Boat Ramp in Illinois early on the morning of Tuesday, July 31 to take a walk along the waterfront. He thought that he had put the car in park, but when he returned, the car had rolled down the boat ramp, into the river at a point where the water was deep enough to engulf the car.

Mustang in Water

The Grafton police department arrived around 9am and began the recovery effort, spending several hours fishing the Mustang up out of the river. The car was pulled from the water after a diver wrapped a chain around the rear wheels, with a tow truck using a winch to get the car back onto dry land.

Ford Mustang Damaged

Irreparable Damage

As you can see in the images here, there was a considerable amount of damage done to the front end of the car, including the loss of the driver’s side front wheel. It probably didn’t do the rear wheels much good when they were used to lift the car out of the water and the odds are good that every electrical system in the car was destroyed by the river water.

According to Richard Gillespie of the Grafton Police Department, the owner of the Mustang was visibly upset at the sight of his damaged car. The initial report states that the owner loved the car and he was often seen washing and waxing the bright blue pony car.

This should serve as a stern reminder to everyone to always make sure that your car is in “park” and while many people do not, the emergency brake should always be engaged when a vehicle is parked. Even if you are not parked near water or anywhere else where your car may roll away, there is simple no reason not to use the emergency brake every time you park your car.

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A lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years, Patrick Rall is highly experienced in the automotive world. He has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now auto journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

“Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500,” says Rall. “He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car: a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16. Meanwhile, I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

“Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group,” adds Rall. “While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

“Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never ‘work’ a day in your life. I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

“My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

“Being based on Detroit, I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit’s Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.”

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