2 children die after car plunges into St. Louis Park stormwater pond

Surveying scene
Police officers surveyed the embankment where a small sedan was pulled from a stormwater pond on the northeast corner of the overpass where Highway 7 crosses over Highway 100 in St. Louis Park.
Tim Nelson/MPR News

Two of the five young children riding in a car that veered off a highway ramp and into a pond have died.

The Minnesota State Patrol confirmed that Zenavia Rennie, 5, died of her injuries at Hennepin County Medical Center Thursday night.

A lawyer working with the family confirmed the death of Alarious Coleman-Guerrido, 7.

The State Patrol said a small sedan carrying the children and a driver left the roadway at highways 100 and 7 just after 6 a.m. Thursday and entered the pond at the northeast corner of the intersection.

• To see pictures from the scene, click on the slideshow link at right

The car veered off the ramp, down an embankment and into about 9 feet of water. The children were pulled from the water in a rescue effort that lasted 45 minutes, according to the State Patrol.

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St. Louis Park fire officials said all five children were "unresponsive" when they were pulled from of the 1998 Pontiac Grand Am.

Crash scene
Divers and dozens of emergency vehicles were at a drainage pond at Hwy 100 and Hwy 7 in St. Louis Park Thursday morning, Nov. 21, 2013.
Tim Nelson/MPR News

The driver of the car was listed as 23-year-old Marion Guerrido, of Brooklyn Center. In addition to Zenavia and Alarious, her passengers included Aliyana Rennie, age 1, Zarihana Rennie, 6, and Amani Coleman-Guerrido, 5, also of Brooklyn Center.

The State Patrol said Aliyana, Alarious and Amani are Guerrido's sons and daughter.

Four of the children attend Odyssey Academy in Brooklyn Center. The school's executive director, John Sedey, said they have a counselor from Catholic Charities to prepare teachers and help students tomorrow.

Location of the crash:

Bystanders jumped in the water to help, said State Patrol spokesman Lt. Eric Roeske.

"Incredibly cold, nearly freezing temperature water made it a very difficult situation for someone to get in there," Roeske said.

Crews ended up "blindly searching in the dark, muddy water" for the occupants, St. Louis Park Fire Chief Steve Koering said.

While the car was still fully submerged, they pulled three children out through an open front window on the car and pulled another out of the back window after breaking it, he said.

"The firefighters were basically working blind at that time," Koering said.

The highway interchange where the incident occurred is slated for reconstruction starting next year to improve safety and efficiency, according to a Minnesota Department of Transportation website. The costs of crashes occurring in the interchanged ranked 27th statewide and had a higher crash rate than the metro average, according to MnDOT.

MPR News reporters Elizabeth Dunbar and Jon Collins contributed to this report.