A Jeep that had been reported stolen from Adams County was pulled Wednesday from Rocky Fork Lake.
Exactly how the vehicle ended up in the lake remains unknown, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
Highland County Emergency Operations Center Public Information Officer Branden Jackman said local officials were told the vehicle had probably been in the lake at least three days.
At 3:49 p.m. Wednesday, Jackman said the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District Dive Team was requested by officers from the ODNR due to a vehicle being in the water at the Fisherman’s Wharf launch ramp. He said Paint Creek divers arrived on the scene with personnel from the district’s Rainsboro station, as well as ODNR and Highland County Sheriff’s Office representatives.
“There were initial concerns that there may be a victim in the vehicle. Due to water conditions, the divers were unable to ascertain whether anyone was in the vehicle. They swam the tow line to the vehicle from a waiting tow truck and assisted on scene until the vehicle was completely removed from the water,” Jackman said.
David Roorbach, ODNR public information officer, said that on Tuesday a resident near Rocky Fork Lake saw an object in the lake near Fisherman’s Wharf and thought it was debris. He said that by Wednesday, the water had receded enough that the resident was able to see the top of a vehicle.
The vehicle was pulled from the lake and identified as a 2018 Jeep Wrangler reported stolen out of Adams County. The vehicle owner is Cole Roades, 22, of Winchester, Roorbach said.
He said the Adams County Sheriff’s Office is the lead investigating agency on the vehicle theft.
Jackman said all Paint Creek personnel were released by the ODNR by 6:32 p.m.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.