Family Mourns Loss of Young Man Found in Flooded Vehicle

- MIDDLETOWN, Md.- Bryan Sears, 23, was on his way home Friday, May 16 after working a late shift as a street sweeper, but he never made it. Rescue crews found his truck in the Opequan Creek off of Old Charlestown Road the next day with Bryan inside. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The street sweeper was swept away by flood waters, leaving him with no way out.

"He had never been on that road before," said Colleen Lafferty, Sear's fiancé. "I know he didn't know the road, and he didn't see it coming."

"He wasn't sure about his surroundings," said Bryan's father, Aaron Sears. "I'm sure he wanted to get home as soon as he could, and was traveling on roads that were wet during the evening due to the heavy rain."

The waters were 15 to 20 feet above where they normally are in the area of the low-lying bridge. Sears'  family wants to make sure nobody else makes this same mistake.

"People need to understand how dangerous flowing water is," added Sears. "Crossing water in a vehicle, or walking for that matter, is a call that needs to be thought very carefully, and tried to be avoided as much as possible."

The family also wants more to be done about not only the bridge, but every area where major flooding can occur.

"Something to allow the motorists about the danger ahead to make sure they're aware," Sears said. "Something to make sure something like this doesn't happen again."

"I want there to be safety precautions about that bridge," Lafferty added. "Lights, gates, either taking out that bridge and making it higher just so it doesn't happen to someone else."

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