Looking Back: Four years later, the car in the lake

Cheyanne Kramer, Managing Editor

It’s April 2, 2014. Most would see the headline and assume this was a late April Fool’s joke.

However, a red Chrysler Sebring being towed from the frozen Bear Lake was no joke. The Oakland Post’s cover that week read “Into Thawing Waters: A car ended up in Bear Lake, and it’s not just because there aren’t any parking spots.”

A tow truck was pulling a motor home in P2. The van unhitched from the motor home, sending it into the Sebring that had never been put in park when the driver left the car. The driver had also failed to park in a spot in which students could park their cars.

The Sebring then rolled from its parking spot and into Bear Lake.

“I come out finding out I could graduate in April and find my car in a lake,” said car owner Shauna Hazime.

She didn’t know her car was in the lake until after her class.

“There’s nothing I can do,” Hazime had said.

The incident didn’t happen in the middle of the night, nor on a weekend. It happened on a Wednesday, at 12:30 p.m., when campus was at its busiest.

Gage Zurawski was outside of the Oakland Center when it happened, getting ready for an afternoon of live action role playing (LARP) when he saw an older man yelling for help. This man tried to prevent the Sebring from being pushed into the lake.

However, the LARPer and the older man were no match for a car intent on taking a swim in Bear Lake.

“Between the two of us we couldn’t stop it,” he said. “There’s only so much you can do when it’s moving so fast.”

A tour group directed by Admissions Ambassador Josh Rieck saw the accident take place through the glass doors of Vandenberg Hall.

The van and the motor home it was attached to were both on campus in preparation for the annual Pinball Expo, OUTV reported.

Despite an exhibitor for the expo being involved in the accident, the event went on without a hitch, and The Oakland Post covered the expo in the same issue as the cover story about the car in the lake.

The first tow truck that arrived was too small to pull the car out of the lake. After calling for another larger one, it still took some of them jumping into Bear Lake to secure the car to pull it out.

This wasn’t the only car of the 2000s to end up in the lake. Another mid-80s model GM station wagon was pulled from the bottom of the lake after it took the plunge in 1993. The car was only found after the lake was partly drained to repair the bridge that crosses the lake.

A Big Boy statue also found it’s home in Bear Lake, having been stolen as part of a fraternity prank. The statue then “mysteriously” ended up at Rochester High School.

The son of one of the pranksters is now one of the Dean’s Fellows for the Oakland University Honors College.