Man Found Dead in Flooded Vehicle


WINCHESTER, Va. - On Friday the 16th, Frederick County, Virginia 911 received a call around 4:20 a.m. from Jefferson County 911, after they received a call from a person saying the vehicle he was in was filling up with water and sinking.

"He said that his vehicle was filling up with water and not really sure where he's at," said Captain Donald Lang of the Frederick County, Virginia Sheriff's Office. "At that particular point, the phone went dead."

Crews immediately responded after an emergency ping on the number used to call 911 was completed. The location results came back to the area of the 1600 block of Old Charlestown Road, which is the area of the low water bridge at Opequon Creek.

"(We were) unable to find anything near it because of the extreme flood waters," Lang added. "It was up around 15 to 20 feet higher than normal. Without entering the water itself, we weren't able to see anything that would give us an indication that there was a vehicle in the water."

The Virginia State Police Aviation Unit also assisted but were unable to find the vehicle that day. Crews returned to the area on Saturday and spotted the vehicle approximately 200 yards north of the bridge after the water had receded. They also found 23-year-old Bryan Sears of Middletown, Maryland inside. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"It would be the impression that he felt that he could safely cross (the bridge) at that particular point," Lang said.

The vehicle was a large street sweeper. Officials stress no matter the size of your vehicle, if you come across a flooded area, do not try to drive through it because you never know how high the water levels may be.

"If there's any doubt in your mind or anything that might alter your route, whether it's water or anything else, it's best just to turn around and find a different route," Lang said.

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