Man dies after being pulled from SUV that plunged into pond

Police release identity of victim

WESTFIELD, Ind. - A 22-year-old man died after his SUV plunged into a pond in Westfield late Saturday evening.

Westfield police Capt. Charles Hollowell identified the victim as Alexander Cottom, of Noblesville.

Divers pulled Cottom from a Jeep Cherokee that went into a pond in the Sandpiper subdivision near State Road 32 just after 8:15 p.m.

Neighbors watched as divers searched the pond for nearly 45 minutes before getting Cottom out.

Cottom's fiance, Alison Grant, said they were supposed to meet at a friend's house in the neighborhood, but when she pulled in, there were people in the water.

"I don't want to process it, but I know I have to and it's almost like being put in a room with no windows and no doors and nobody can hear you," Grant said.

"I was told by the fire department last night that this retention pond is something like 40 feet deep, and it took them almost 45 minutes to locate his vehicle," said Steve Cottom, Alexander's father.

Steve Cottom was heartbroken and angry at the absence of guardrails or other safety measures around the pond.

"I can only imagine here in this area had a school bus--if that had happened when it was full of children or something like that. The tragedy that we would be talking about then," Cottom said.

Alexander Cottom was unresponsive when he was pulled out of the pond. He was taken to St. Vincent Hospital, where he died.

"There were no initial indications of foul play. Initial thoughts are that Cottom died from drowning/hypothermia, but the incident is still under investigation," Hollowell said in a news release.

Police said they aren't sure what led Cottom to drive into the pond. He was the only person in the SUV.

Cottom had two young daughters with Grant.

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