An elderly Richland woman has died after becoming confused and driving her car down Columbia Point boat ramp into the frigid Columbia River.
Murvelle B. Moreman, 83, had just finished dinner at Anthony’s restaurant with her family on Tuesday night when she got into her silver Lexus to head home about 7 p.m.
Police believe instead of driving east toward George Washington Way, she accidentally drove into Columbia Point Marina Park and off the boat ramp by accident.
Some people inside a nearby restaurant spotted her car slip into the river. Some called 911 while others rushed outside and tried to pull her out and tried to hold onto the car to keep it from slipping deeper into the dark water.
“There were a lot of people there that were instrumental to getting her out of the car,” said Cerise Peck, Richland’s crime prevention specialist.
A Richland police officer dove underwater, broke a window and pulled Moreman to the shore, according to Columbia Basin Dive Rescue.
“Richland police, fire and medics were the ones who risked their lives and went above and beyond their call of duty,” dive rescue officials said. “They are amazing.”
Moreman was taken to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland where she died Tuesday night surrounded by family.
A commenter on Facebook said Moreman was their neighbor.
“She was so kind and generous,” the neighbor said. “She specifically walked over to give our kids extra candy on Halloween. We had just waved to her as we left for school Tuesday morning. We will miss her.”
Richland police did not know if she had any medical conditions that may have caused her to become disoriented.
Benton County Chief Deputy Coroner Roy McLean said her drowning was ruled accidental.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter