Two drown in lake near Carbondale

By Sharon Wittke

Two young people from the Chicago area were pronounced dead by the Jackson County coroner after both bodies were retrieved Saturday from a submerged vehicle in Cedar Lake, south of Carbondale.

The victims were the driver of the vehicle, Marielle A. Carson, 20, of Chicago, and front-seat passenger, Latisha A.P. Ray, 21, of Carbondale, according to a statement released by

the coroner’s office.


The coroner’s statement said the two victims were students at John A. Logan College in Carterville and Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Ray is listed as a student on the SIUC website but university spokesman Rod Sievers said she was not enrolled at the university at the time of her death.

The Rev. Bob Gray, Carbondale police department chaplain, said the

accident was tragic.

“It was really difficult on the families, and it was very difficult on the people who survived,”

he said.

Dr. Thomas Kupferer, the county coroner, released the statement in which he said the Carbondale Police Department received a 911 call shortly after 3 a.m. that an automobile had been driven off a Cedar Lake boat launch area.


In his statement, he said according to the 911 report given to the police, there were five passengers in the car as it went into the water, but three passengers escaped before the vehicle submerged completely.

The 911 caller feared the two occupants of the front seat were not able to exit the vehicle, according to the coroner’s statement.

The Carbondale police and fire departments, the Jackson County Ambulance Service and a Union County dive team assisted with recovery efforts, according to the coroner’s statement.

The coroner reported that shortly after 7 a.m., the car was pulled from the lake and the two individuals who had been reported as missing in the 911 call were in the front seat of the car and pronounced dead.

The coroner said in his statement his preliminary examination indicated both victims died as a result of drowning and a toxicology analysis is pending.