Man dead after driving car into South Hill retention pond

SOUTH HILL, Wash. — A man is dead after police say he drove into a retention pond Friday afternoon. It happened just before 3 p.m. in South Hill.

Sgt. Darren Moss with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said the man called 911 himself.

“The driver called himself and told dispatchers where he was and that his vehicle was filling with water, but couldn’t get out,” said Moss.

Moss said that call came from a 69-year-old male driver, who lived nearby.

“We know that the vehicle came down Sunrise Parkway, which has a curve to it and he continued straight into the grass, over a bush, and into the pond,” Moss said.

Deputies arrived to the pond minutes after the man called 911 from his car, as it sunk.

“It was up for about five or 10 minutes before it finally submerged,” Moss said. “One deputy took off all of his gear and tried to swim out to find the vehicle.”

That deputy was unable to find the car and swam back to shore to wait for divers and the fire department to get to the scene to search the pond floor.

“They do it mostly by touch, you can see pretty much right in front of your face. So, he got to the back window, could see the driver in the back seat,” explained Moss.

The diver had to break the back window to get the man out. Moss said the man didn’t have his seatbelt on and they believe he tried to get out of the car. The man died on the way to the hospital. Divers also checked for others inside the car.

“There was no one else in the vehicle but they did see the driver’s side window and the sunroof were open,” said Moss.

Police are still investigating how the man ended up in the pond. Moss said police at least know the man was conscious for a while and not disoriented because he was able to call 911 and tell them exactly where he was.