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Grand Forks County Cpl. Thomas Inocencio, right, leader of the Dive Rescue Team and volunteer Scott Fugleberg assist with the retrieval of a 1998 Cadillac Deville that slid into the water-filled east ditch of I-29 north of Grand Forks Friday afternoon, April 15, 2011. The two occupants were able to exit the vehicle and were uninjured. (Eric Hylden, Herald staff photographer)

2 escape car after plunge into I-29 water-filled ditch north of Grand Forks

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Two people were able to escape their car Friday afternoon when the vehicle went off Interstate 29 and into a water-filled ditch, the North Dakota Highway Patrol reported.

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At 2:30 p.m., 37-year-old Angela Exner, of Grand Forks, was northbound on the interstate from Grand Forks to Walahlla, N.D., when she attempted to pass another vehicle. The patrol said she lost control of the 1998 Cadillac car on the slushy road and the vehicle went into the east ditch near mile marker 146, which is 1 mile north of the North Washington Street exit.

The majority of the car was submerged in water, and the vehicle was totaled.

The patrol said Exner and her passenger, Solveig Hornung, 78, of Walhalla, were able to exit the vehicle and were uninjured in the crash.

The Cadillac was recovered from the water by Interstate Towing with the assistance of the Grand Forks County Sheriff's Department dive rescue. The crash remains under investigation.

Similar accidents were reported in Cass County, and the Sheriff's Office said at least two vehicles had driven off roads and into water-filled ditches by Friday morning.

One of the accidents occurred on I-29 near the Horace, N.D., exit at County Road 14. In both Cass County accidents, the occupants were able to safely get out of their vehicles.

A travel alert remains in effect through Saturday morning for portions of central and eastern North Dakota, including the Devils Lake, Grand Forks, Jamestown and Valley City areas.

Motorists are encouraged to reduce speed and drive according to the conditions.

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