At approximately 1:24 a.m. this morning, an Evanston Police Officer on patrol at the Dempster Street boathouse observed a swimmer 10 yards off the break wall swimming out into the deep. The officer called out to the swimmer to return to shore. The swimmer kept swimming away from shore, said Commander Jay Parrott of the Evanston Police Department.
The officer checked the area and observed clothing left nearby with car keys on the lake shore’s rocks. Officers on scene were able to locate a vehicle nearby in which the keys matched the vehicle. Police attempted to contact the vehicle’s owner without success and the Evanston Fire Department was notified to respond due to the woman’s refusal to get out of the lake and her swimming away from shore in the middle of the night. Police believed that the swimmer was intent on harming herself, said the Commander.
A MABAS Dive Box was activated, said Fire Chief Greg Klaiber. The U.S. Coast Guard and CFD helicopter and Evanston’s Lifeguard boat were also brought to the scene. An exhaustive and thorough search was conducted, also using sonar to locate the woman, but she could not be located, and the Box was struck after 2.5 hours, said Chief Klaiber. He said the fire department planned to return at daybreak with a Personal Water Craft Team to canvas the area and shoreline.
At approximately 7:15 a.m., the swimmer appeared back on shore unharmed and was identified as a female, age 49, from Chicago. She was arrested and charged with three city ordinance violations, being at a closed beach, being in the beach water after posted hours, and disobeying police in a public place, said Commander Parrott.