Member Login

Police: Combs Hehl Bridge Crash Victim Was Likely in Campbell Co. Moments Before

The person inside the vehicle that fell off the Combs Hehl Bridge on Tuesday during a multi-vehicle crash may have been spotted in Campbell County earlier that day, police said on Friday.

Campbell Police Chief Craig Sorrell said that investigators think they know who the person is but they are withholding that information until the identity can be confirmed.

Whether there is more than one occupant was also unclear.

Investigators said Thursday that water conditions remain unfavorable for divers to get to the vehicle and that it would be Sunday or Monday before the person and vehicle could be retrieved by divers.

"Although there is strong circumstantial evidence that this may be the individual involved in this tragic collision, we are withholding further information as to their identity until we have recovered the vehicle and determined if we will be able to make confirmation as to the identity of the driver," Sorrell said in a statement.
 
The Boone County Water Rescue Team has put in place the necessary resources, including a vessel, barge, and crane to be utilized in the recovery operations. The team is continually monitoring the river conditions and will proceed with recovery operations when it can be done safely, according to an update.
 
Campbell Co. Police Department was contacted on Thursday about a possible missing person and after speaking with family members of that missing person and through a follow-up investigation, the individual was last seen in Campbell County shortly prior to the collision on the Combs Hehl Bridge, Sorrell reported. The missing person would normally travel across that bridge and is the owner of a red Pontiac Grand Prix, a vehicle that witnesses described as being the one that fell off the bridge when the crash occurred.
 
Sorrell said that the primary purpose of the recovery effort is to locate and identify the occupant or occupants of the vehicle and the secondary effort is to recover the vehicle to help with collision reconstruction purposes. The vehicle could be retrieved without deploying divers, Sorrell said, but that would not be the best method to recover missing occupants.
 
The Campbell Co. Police Department has been in contact with family members of a possible missing person and they are aware that recovery efforts will be put off until such time that divers can make an attempt to reach the vehicle.
 
-Staff report
Photo: Combs Hehl Bridge (RCN file)