Mendon woman dies after her vehicle plunges into Fawn River

Barbara Melinda Phillips, 60, of Mendon died Thursday morning after her vehicle left the roadway , overturned, and landed on its roof in the Fawn River, according to the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department.

At approximately 7:12 a.m. Thursday, February 25, deputies were dispatched to Constantine Road just north of Mintdale Road. Upon arrival deputies found Phillips’ 2007 Jeep Liberty completely submerged in more than seven feet of water. Constantine fire personnel attempted to rescue the driver, who was located, and removed from the vehicle.

Phillips was transported by LifeCare Ambulance to Three Rivers Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

An initial investigation of the crash revealed Phillips was traveling northbound on Constantine Road when her vehicle veered off the roadway to the left, and hit the bridge retaining wall. The vehicle overturned and landed on its roof in the Fawn River where first responders donned Mustang suits to retrieve her.

According to authorities, it remains unclear what caused Phillips’ vehicle to leave the roadway, and the crash remains under investigation. Assisting at the scene were the Constantine Fire Department, Michigan State Police, dive rescue, White Pigeon Fire Department, Constantine Police Department, LifeCare Ambulance, and Shears Wrecker.

Alek Haak-Frost is executive editor of Watershed Voice.