Driver missing after SUV crashes into canal
MARGATE, Fla. (WSVN) -- Rescue divers are searching for the driver who, according to officials, plowed through a residential backyard and splashed into a canal after losing control of his sport utility vehicle.
Investigators said the motorist's Jeep Grand Cherokee smashed through a wooden fence and then knocked over every tree in its path before it flipped into the canal Saturday, at around 10:30 p.m. "It was one loud-- almost like an explosion," said homeowner Steve Edwards, as he recalled the moment of impact. "I mean, they've come through here pretty fast."
Part of Edwards' fence is missing, and police said, so is the SUV's driver. Authorities are not certain whether the motorist fled the scene, on Royal Palm Boulevard and Northwest 68th Avenue in Margate, or if the collision forced him underwater.
"I actually come out the front first, and saw a big hole there," said Edwards, as he pointed at the gap in his fence. "I looked through the fence, and I could see all the way back to the canal. I dialed 911."
Worried for the passengers in the SUV, Edwards went to the backyard while on the phone with emergency dispatchers to see what he could do. He said the canal is about 14 feet deep. "[The dispatcher] asked me if I could see, and I said, 'Whoever it is, they're on the canal.' She asked, 'Could you see bubbles [on the canal's surface], and I said I couldn't see bubbles. I said, 'I can't see, I need a flashlight,' so I went inside and got a flashlight."
The commotion woke up nearby residents, who stood on the street watching Margate Police and rescue crews arrived at Edwards' home. Authorities and firefighters searched for survivors and secured the scene, but even after the SUV was towed out of the water, there was no trace of anyone inside.
Edwards said he is still hopeful whoever was driving the Jeep is still alive. "I feel a lot better, because I thought it was, like, a family trapped underwater," he said. "I thought they were done. I was yelling back there, hopefully, if anyone could hear me, but I didn't know what I was yelling at, because it was so dark out there."
Divers returned to the canal Sunday afternoon to continue their search. They have not made any discoveries.
If you have any information about the whereabouts of the missing driver, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
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