DNR investigates Lake Monroe incident that left 3 dead; victims identified

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MONROE COUNTY — The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) continues to investigate a triple drowning at Lake Monroe.

Three people died after a car was driven into the lake. They were identified Monday as 67-year-old Estella Huerta, 31 year-old Alejandro Hernandez-Huerta and 4-year-old Alex Oliver Hernandez, all of Lawrence.

“Witnesses on scene say they observed the vehicle just drive down on the ramp into the water,” detailed Indiana Conservation Officer Brent Bohbrink.

It happened Friday night at the boat ramp in the Paynetown campgrounds. Officer Bohbrink says parking on the ramp for sight seeing is prohibited.

Camp goers tell FOX59 that people began running toward the scene once they heard the car crash head-on into the lake. A nearby camper says witnesses came back from the scene distraught from what they saw. DNR says the driver was yelling for help and trying to escape. People nearby began to swim toward the car to help get them out.

“Unfortunately, they were not able to due to the fact the vehicle was submerged and taking on water,” Officer Bohbrink added.

DNR says it is unclear why the family was at Lake Monroe. Officer Bohbrink said during the pandemic, the lake and state park have been extremely busy with people trying to escape their homes.

“It’s a Friday evening around 10:30 p.m., there is still people mostly at that point. They would be coming off the water,” explained Officer Bohbrink before talking about what to do should a car end up underwater.

“I think the number one thing is to remain as calm as possible. Obviously, that type of situation, that’s very intense. The calmer you can stay, you can hopefully use good sound judgement to try to get yourself out.”

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