Model’s Death in Chicago Car Accident Highlights Risk of Submersion

A couple weeks ago model Irma Sabanovic drove into her watery death during a car accident in Chicago that left her car submerged in the Chicago River on the 1100 block of West Blackhawk Street, according to My FOX Chicago.Now, victims and safety advocates are searching for somewhere to rest the blame and the City finds itself the focus of that wrath. The city has placed a number of reflectors and barricades in these areas in an attempt to warn motorists of the water dangers.

Our Chicago car accident attorneys understand that the water around our city, and the river running through it, pose a threat to motorists in the event of an accident. Knowing what to do in the event of a submersion accident can mean the difference between life and death.

Sabanovic reportedly neglected to notice the end of the road meeting the beginning of the river as she drove her car directly into the water. She was reportedly submerged in the water nearly an hour before she drowned.

The family of the model filed a lawsuit against the city. They claim that the city of Chicago neglected to place barricades or any significant warning signals near the scene of that accident to warn motorists of the dangers. Reports indicate that there was no signage at the site aside from one “No Outlet” sign. Abels & Annes is not affiliated with any of the parties to the lawsuit.

“(The street) was well-lit, there was a ‘No Outlet’ sign prominently displayed at the entrance to the street and there was an 8-inch curb at the end of the street, which is four times higher than the average city curb,” spokeswoman for the city’s Law Department Jennifer Hoyle said.

This accident mirrors the 1992 death of Rick Roman, Director of Improv Olympic Theatre, in which he plunged into the same river, according to the Chicago Tribune.

According to, more than 300 motorists die from submersion accidents each year. More specifically, they drown in their vehicles. This means, more than one person dies every 29 hours from these accidents.

Safety advocates still rely on the POGO Method as the best tool to help you escape a submerging vehicle:

Pop off your seat belt, and everyone else’s seat belt in the vehicle.

Open the window. Break it open if necessary.

Get everyone out of the vehicle.

Out. Once you’re out of the vehicle, assess the water currents. Be sure to swim with the current to safety. Swimming against currents can only tire you and put you at a greater risk of drowning.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, the personal injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.

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