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Police: Women in SUV that plunged into Menomonee River were street racing

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A vehicle plunged into the Menomonee River near the intersection of N. 27th Street and Canal Street in Milwaukee. It happened on Wednesday evening, February 18th -- a bitterly cold night with a Wind Chill Advisory in effect. And police believe the women inside were street racing.

It happened shortly before 6:00 p.m.

Police say the vehicle was headed southbound at a high rate of speed when the driver lost control and slid across the northbound lane on the 27th Street Viaduct. The vehicle went over the concrete barrier and landed in the canal below -- submerging just below the roof.

We're told two people were inside the vehicle. The 19-year-old passenger was walking around at the scene when first responders arrived. The 25-year-old driver was trapped in the vehicle. She was extricated with the assistance of MFD's Dive Team. She was not breathing and did not have a pulse -- but she was resuscitated. Both of the victims -- two women, were taken to Froedtert Hospital. The driver is listed in critical but stable condition. The passenger was released after being treated for exposure.

Police say a statement from the passenger indicated they were drag racing when they lost control.

A witness tells FOX6 News he is shocked to learn the women inside the vehicle survived. He says he was parking his car just before 6:00 p.m. when he heard a loud bang coming from the southbound lanes of the 27th Street bridge. He looked up and saw a street light falling into the river below -- with an SUV following behind.

Dropping some 200 feet, the vehicle landed in the icy water near Canal Street.

"When I first saw it, it took me two or three minutes to believe what I saw. I immediately saw the tail-lights of the vehicle flying off the bridge. A car flying off 200 feet.  I didn`t know if she hit the railroad tracks or the river.  Thank God she hit the river. I didn't know what to expect when we got there. The girl that climbed out of the vehicle and climbed onto the hood - she didn`t even know if someone else was in the vehicle. She says she didn`t remember anything once they hit. She was just in complete shock. To me, that`s amazing. Falling from that far! It`s amazing they survived," the witness said.

A Milwaukee police spokesman says:

"The Milwaukee Fire Department should be commended for their quick response and rescue, there is no doubt in my mind that the 25-year-old would have perished if not for the actions of the responding firefighters."

Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.

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