Driver drowns after pickup crashes into pond

Crews pull a pickup from a southeast Houston pond. The truck crashed into the water and the driver drowned, officials said

February 6, 2012 8:34:53 AM PST
A Houston Police Department dive team recovered a pickup truck and the body of its driver in a southeast Houston pond Sunday.

Investigators believe reckless driving is what caused the truck to plunge into the pond.

Dozens of worried neighbors watched as HPD's dive team searched every inch of the man-made pond in the 12800 Kurland Drive near Freehill Street for the drowned victim's body.

They were called to the scene after an eyewitness saw the red pickup drive into the pond around 10:15am Sunday.

Police believe the driver was traveling at a high rate of speed on Kurland when he clipped a curb and skidded across the grass into the water.

Investigators say a good Samaritan rushed into action. He jumped in and was able to free the driver from inside the truck, but somehow could not hold onto the victim. According to police, the pond was too deep and too dangerous.

Nearby resident Paul Nguyen says he was rushing to church Sunday morning when he noticed the truck in the middle of the pond. He says he didn't immediately realize a driver was in trouble.

"It was just a quick glimpse that I just drove by and noticed that this is an odd thing to see," Nguyen said. "Actually, it was kind of dark in there, so I couldn't really tell if there was anybody sitting in there or not."

Some neighbors say speeding is been a big problem in the area.

"There was two cops sitting down just on the other side of the bayou, watching for people coming down the road speeding," Gary Selwood said. "Just sitting there with a radar gun, pulling people over who were speeding."

It took about five hours for police to recover the victim's body and pull his truck from the frigid water. It was unknown how many people were in the pickup when it crashed, so the dive team searched for possible other victims. No one else was found.

"Man, this is terrible. Things like this don't click, you know? You just don't think things like this [will] happen," Nguyen said.

The male victim, 23, was pronounced dead at the scene. His identity is pending verification by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences.

Officials say the medical examiner will help determine if alcohol was also a factor in this crash.

Police say the investigation is continuing.

Please stay with Eyewitness News and for additional details as they become available.