A group of men in Illinois are facing the ramifications of illegal freewheeling on a frozen pond; two of their vehicles are now completely stuck in the ice. They could fully emerge underwater if they remain in the lake until spring.
A couple of friends in Madison County took advantage of the frigid weather gripping much of the country to go off-roading in their new, lifted Chevy Silverado on Jan. 1, according to Jalopnik. They drove it onto what they thought was a frozen field.
The group wasn't driving solid land, rather a layer of permafrost covering a privately-owned body of water.
The pond, located in Chouteau Island, is owned by the Chain of Rocks Recreation Corp., KTVI reports. It's used for water-skiing practice during the warmer months.
"When the lake goes dry in the winter, there's a lot of temptation for guys to think they can just come out here and go four-wheeling," said Austin Opp of the recreation organization.
The unnamed owner of the truck said he was sitting in the passenger's seat while his friend drove. He yelled at his friend to turn around, but the ice gave way before they could get back on land.
"It’s permafrost," said Opp. "It was frozen hard enough that it held him up for a while then it just collapsed in, which [is] what I’d expect him to do."
The truck's owner then rented a backhoe to remove the vehicle from the water, but that also led to trouble. Both vehicles are now stuck in the muddy ice.
Opp says the predicament is the worst he's ever seen.
"Nobody's usually dumb enough to try to go out on the lake and he did," he added.
The vehicle owners are liable to be sued by Madison County authorities for trespassing, which can be a common occurrence during winter months. Thirteen vehicles were once impounded for illegal freewheeling in a single day.
The property owners want the vehicles out of their pond, but their primary concern is to keep people from ending up on the ice in the first place. Opp is worried that someone could end up seriously injured or dead if they were to venture out on the pond.
As of the evening of Jan. 3, there were no plans to remove the vehicles. It is likely they will be removed sometime before the spring, when the water will be 7 feet deep, according to Jalopnik.
Even if the vehicles are not impounded, they will likely cost their owners a lot in recovering from water damage.