Pushed Pickup

Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy Cody Causey, front, Union firefighter Mark Strubberg, middle, and Vogelgesang Towing Service owner Jeff Vogelgesang attempt to push an abandoned Ford Ranger on its wheels after it was pulled from the Bourbeuse River off of Shawneetown Ford Road Wednesday afternoon.    

A pickup truck reported stolen by a St. Clair woman in the city of Washington eight years ago was found in the Bourbeuse River Wednesday afternoon.

The 1997 Ford Ranger with an expired, older-designed Missouri license plate, was discovered in a bend of the river where it comes the closest to Shawneetown Ford Road east of Union.

When the vehicle was pulled from the river, Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies found the VIN number. When they called it in, a hit came back that the pickup was reported stolen in the city of Washington on May 24, 2004.

Washington Police Detective Sgt. Brad Erisman told The Missourian on Thursday that the vehicle was registered to Gilbert and Linda Crider of St. Clair. Erisman said that Linda Crider had reported the truck missing from the Cedarcrest Manor nursing home parking lot, 324 W. Fifth St.

“Linda Crider is reporting the keys were not in it,” Erisman said, adding that the woman was an employee at the nursing home at the time. “The deputies said they did a basic check (of the truck) and didn’t find them, but we’re investigating it further.”

The truck was pulled from the river and towed to St. Clair by Jeff Vogelgesang.

Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies at the scene said it appeared the vehicle had been abandoned and had been in the water for a long time. It was covered with mud as it was pulled from the river at about 4:30 p.m. Sheriff Gary Toelke confirmed through a short press release that “it appeared the vehicle had been submerged for some time.”

The sheriff’s office also is conducting an additional investigation.

The sheriff’s office received the call at  2:23 p.m. Wednesday after a man who works at a farm nearby saw the truck in the river. Deputies stated that the man said he frequently eats his lunch on a rock outcropping near the river off of Shawneetown Ford Road just south of St. Louis Boulevard, and he called authorities after he spotted the top of the truck under water.