A dive team was called to the scene at Sibley just west of Wentworth. But the driver was able to get out of the vehicle himself as it sank.
The man was driving west on Sibley when he veered off the roadway, hit a guardrail, hit an embankment and went into the river, according to Dolton Fire Chief Jerry McCullough.
"We did a search and rescue with our dive team," according to the chief who said at first the man was partially submerged in the 4-foot deep water, but he ended up "staggering" out of the Oldsmobile Aurora car himself and he refused medical treatment.
The man, who appeared to be in his 20s, was "highly intoxicated" and he was taken to Dolton police station lockup. The chief said he may be charged with DUI and damage to property.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.