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Man dies after SUV enters lake near Monroe Harbor

A man died after he was pulled from Lake Michigan Friday when his SUV went into the water near Monroe Harbor downtown.

The vehicle went into the lake near Balbo and Lake Shore Drive about 3 p.m., police News Affairs Officer Thomas Sweeney said.

The driver was identified as Randy Brittman, 51, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. He was unconscious when he was taken Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:23 p.m., according to the medical examiner’s office and fire officials.

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Authorities estimate he was submerged in cold water for 15 to 20 minutes. An autopsy on Sunday determined Brittman, whose home address was unknown, died of lack of oxygen to the brain and his death was ruled an accident.

Witnesses told officials the SUV went in reverse through a fence, down an embankment and into the lake, Fire Media Affairs spokesman Joe Roccasalva said.

Divers found the man still inside the SUV, which was located in 15 feet of water about 50 feet away from shore, Roccasalva said. Rescuers faced chilly, 40-degree lake water and visibilities under water of only 6 inches.

Rescue crews work the scene at Lake Michigan and Balbo after a vehicle with at least one person onboard, crashed into the water. It was the second vehicle crash into the lake of the day. | Brian Jackson / Sun-Times