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Police: 'Unknown medical event' caused Cabela's pond crash

Fire Marshal Marius Laursen, back to camera in yellow vest, Public Safety Chief Lyndon Overweg and firefighter Jeff Harris, in red helmet, discuss the rescue effort minutes after acar was pulled from the Cabela's pond Aug. 9. (Chris Mueller/Republic)

The woman who died Aug. 9 when her vehicle plunged into the pond at Cabela's in Mitchell suffered an "unknown medical event" before losing control of her car, investigators announced Tuesday.

Jane Strong, 61, of rural Mitchell, was the driver and only occupant of the vehicle that plunged into 18 feet of murky water in the pond. Strong was pronounced dead on the scene after rescue workers spent more than two hours extracting her car from the pond.

Tuesday, investigators said Strong died of asphyxiation caused by drowning, according to a Mitchell Public Safety news release.

A witness of the crash said Strong slumped over between the front seats of her car as it veered off the road and remained in that position well after the vehicle left the road and entered the pond at a high rate of speed.

Strong had a history of seizures, Tuesday's news release said, and a toxicology report indicated Strong was not under the influence of alcohol or recreational drugs at the time of the incident.

According to police reports, Strong's car had been traveling west on Spruce Street when it entered the Holiday Inn Express lot, struck an entrance sign and a parked van, and continued west into a grassy area. The vehicle then did a swooping curve and went over concrete barriers and into the pond.