Driving on Frozen Canal Ends Badly for Indianapolis Motorist

Driver said her GPS made her do it
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 2, 2023 12:37 PM CST

Jacob Aldrich and three relatives were out enjoying a favorite activity on Christmas night—skating on Indianapolis' frozen Downtown Canal—when the sight of a car on the ice gave them pause. Per USA Today, nobody knew what to think at first. "My immediate assumption [was] that it was someone who knew what they were doing ... they were just kind of goofing around," said John Bowling, one of Aldrich's skating mates. But the person in the 2015 Chevy Malibu did not know what she was doing, and it was Aldrich who ultimately wound up saving her life when the vehicle plunged through the ice.

Before that, another member of the Bowling family caught video that has since gone viral on TikTok. In it, skaters stand aside and watch as the vehicle approaches, with one commenting "that’s so ballsy" as it cruises past them, continuing down the frozen canal. A moment later, someone else says, "I wonder if [she] knows it's thawed down there." As the video's narrator points out, "they did not." Once the car went through the ice, Aldrich sprang into action. "She wasn't looking to get out, so I just jumped in," he told a reporter.

Aldrich managed to pull the driver out through a window and get her to shore with help from other bystanders. Fortunately, the canal is only five feet deep and there’s no strong current. Per WISH-TV, the driver—identified by police as Biankia Gleason—was booked for allegedly driving while intoxicated. She told investigators her GPS directed her onto the canal. Another witness who lives nearby said it’s the first time he’s seen anyone drive on the ice, but cars do end up on the adjoining sidewalk sometimes because of easy access from the road. He suggested that "putting some kind of barrier there would definitely be a great first step." (More Indianapolis stories.)

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