Man dies after SUV apparently slides into Shiawassee River

Emergency personnel stand near the Shiawassee River in Byron where they recovered a sport utility vehicle containing the body of an unidentified man.

BYRON — Emergency personnel Monday recovered the body of a Saginaw Township man whose sport utility vehicle was submerged in the Shiawassee River.

The 4-door SUV was discovered in the water, beyond the end of Warren Street north of downtown, shortly after noon. Police on scene said they believe the vehicle went into the river Friday.

Firefighters searched the submerged SUV and found only the single passenger, Charles Thomas Fritz, 79. There were no reports of a missing man over the weekend. As of this morning, the cause and manner of death have not been determined.

An investigation by the Durand Police Department is underway. Tire tracks suggest the man was driving in a park-like area with trees and wet grass near the river past the end of the dead end street.

The man’s SUV apparently got stuck repeatedly.

At some point, police believe, he put the vehicle in reverse and it slipped down the hillside into the river.

One of the tow trucks that came to pull the SUV out of the water also got stuck in the muddy grass a number of times.

Durand police and firefighters were assisted by the Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Office and Perry Fire rescue.

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