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Coast Guard suspends search for driver of truck that plunged into Chesapeake Bay

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Coast Guard suspends search for driver of truck that plunged into Chesapeake Bay
A box truck floats in the water after driving off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Tuesday morning, Dec. 29, 2020, near Virginia Beach, Virginia. As of Tuesday evening, the Coast Guard had suspended the search for the truck’s driver. (Jonathon Gruenke/The Daily Press via AP)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Coast Guard officials said Tuesday evening, Dec. 29, that they have suspended their search for the driver of a box truck that plunged into the water after crashing on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

The truck crashed about 8:20 a.m. on the east side of the bridge’s northbound lanes, according to Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel officials.

Fire, police, and EMS units arrived to find the vehicle floating in the water, said Virginia Beach Fire Department Battalion Chief Richard Trent.

Witnesses saw a man get out of the truck and drift westward in the water, Coast Guard officials said. It was not clear whether the driver climbed or fell out, said Petty Officer First Class Tara Molle.

Coast Guard rescuers joined with the fire department, emergency medical services and police to search for the driver.

According to several media outlets, Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel officials identified the driver of the truck as Erik Mezick, 47, of Fruitland, Maryland.

The Virginian-Pilot reported that Mezick was driving the truck for Cloverland Greenspring Dairy, a Baltimore-based company that sells food products to hospitals, private and public schools, convenience stores, and supermarkets in the mid-Atlantic region, including Virginia.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is 17.6 miles (28 kilometers) long and runs from Virginia Beach to the Eastern Shore. It features two tunnels that run under the surface of Chesapeake Bay.

About 15 over-the-side crashes have occurred since 1984, according to the Virginian-Pilot.

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The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting. Founded in 1846, AP today remains the most trusted source of fast, accurate, unbiased news in all formats and the essential provider of the technology and services vital to the news business. The Trucker Media Group is subscriber of The Associated Press has been granted the license to use this content on TheTrucker.com and The Trucker newspaper in accordance with its Content License Agreement with The Associated Press.
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