Trumbull County man with dementia dies after being found inside car in lake

Local News

MINERAL RIDGE, Ohio (WKBN) – A man with dementia who went missing Monday has died after he was found in his car, which crashed into Mosquito Lake.

Police were looking for 85-year-old Donald Whittaker, who drove away from his home on Lincoln Avenue in Mineral Ridge in his Chrysler Pacifica about 6 p.m. Monday and never returned.

According to dispatch reports, he was found around 11 p.m. inside of his car, which ended up in the lake off of Wilson Sharpsville Road, just past the Imagination Station Park and Playground in Bazetta Township.

911 dispatcher: “Do you have an emergency?”
911 caller 1: “Yes, we are at Mosquito Lake and someone just drove their car into the lake. The one that’s by the Imagination Station.”
911 caller 2: “There’s a long ramp.”
Dispatcher: “Are they still in the vehicle?”
Caller 1: “Yes. We have no idea who they are. Do you want me to get in the water to get them?”
Dispatcher: “No, ma’am, I cannot tell you to do that. Hold on for me.”

“The vehicle was completely submerged. Two firefighter medics entered the water, broke the driver side window. Reached in, could not find him, reached in further, and they did find the victim and pulled him out,” said Bazetta Fire Chief Dennis Lewis.

Whittaker was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Lewis said at this point, they don’t know how long the vehicle was submerged.

An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

ODNR is leading the investigation.

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