Tacoma man killed after car overturns into pond

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by KING Staff and KING5.com

NWCN.com

Posted on February 25, 2010 at 1:19 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 25 at 5:43 PM

TACOMA,Wash. -- A Tacoma man was killed overnight after he drove off the roadway and vaulted into the air, landing upside down in a pond at the 38th Avenue exit off of I-5 in Tacoma, say Washington State Patrol.

Just before 7 a.m., a motorist noticed a vehicle upside in the retaining pond and reported it to State Patrol.

"As the daylight approached a passerby saw the vehicle upside in the retaining pond and called the State Patrol," said Sergeant Freddy Williams, WSP. "We responded immediately. The initial trooper there waded in up to his waist to try to look inside. He wasn't able to do that."

When the trooper got a closer look at the vehicle, he noticed that parts of the car above water were completely dry and concluded the car had been in the water for some time.

The Pierce County dive crew and a tow truck were called to the scene. Divers later recovered the body of a white male from the back seat of the car; the victim was not wearing a seatbelt.

"We assume that it probably happened during the hours of darkness in the morning when there was very little traffic on the roadway," said Sgt. Erick Thomas, Washington State Patrol, "because if it happened during the regular traffic we assume someone would have seen the vehicle at a high rate of speed leave the roadway."

After a 3-hour investigation, authorities determined the driver, identified as a 25-year-old man from Tacoma, had been driving his car on northbound I-5 and took the 34th St. West exit.  He was driving at a high rate of speed when he came to the corner of the offramp. He was unable to complete the turn, instead veering off the road, up the hill and vaulted several feet into the air across the pond. His car landed upside down in the pond.

It is not known whether drugs or alcohol were involved in the crash.

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