Crews Pull Out Flooded Vehicle Where Man Was Found Dead Inside

FREDERICK COUNTY, Va. - Crews returned to the Opequan Creek off of Old Charles Town Road on Monday morning, to get a street sweeper out.

The driver was Bryan Sears, 23, of Middletown, Maryland. Police say he had been driving early Friday morning and called 911 after his vehicle had been swept away and began to fill up with water. 

Rescue crews immediately responded after pinging Sears' location because his phone had died after he got off the line. Unable to find his vehicle Friday, crews returned Saturday and found Sears inside the vehicle after the water receded. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

"At the peak of the water flow after the storm, it made it up to about 19 feet, and we had to wait for it to come back down to a safe level (on Friday)," said Mike Ellinger of the Frederick County Sheriff's Office. "So the next day we came back and performed the body recovery, and we waited for the levels to drop even more for two days, and we came back to get the vehicle out (on Monday)."

The operation Monday took about two hours. Crews say they have to be aware of several things before they even get in the water.

"The flow of the river or the creek, whatever we are getting in," said Deputy Randall Hensley of the Frederick County Sheriff's Office. "What's inside of it, what's sticking up out of it, and also we do a lot of safety precautions."

Officials want to remind everyone of using your best judgment when driving through a flooded area.

"That night the weather conditions were pretty bad, Ellinger added. "It's possible he didn't see it (the bridge), may not have known the area. If you don't know the area you're driving through you should slow down and take your time so you don't get into a situation like this."

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