Safety concerns raised after body recovered from the James - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Safety concerns raised after body recovered from the James


After combing the river for hours and recovering a body from a car, Richmond Fire has turned the case over to police. Now, there are concerns about safety at that section of the river.

Along one section of the river near Dock Street heading towards downtown, there are barricades preventing a car from heading into the river. But on the opposite side, there are no barricades - causing concerns now after one too many incidents like this.

It's not every day you see a car dangling along the dock. After rescue crews spent hours pinpointing a black Honda, they were able to haul it out of the river near Rockett's Landing.

"[I] watched the whole thing. [It] went off the deck," said a man said who goes by the name ‘Captain Cricket'.

He jumped into the river Tuesday when he saw the car speed into the James.

"[I] grabbed a safety line and cleared my body of anything I didn't need and jumped in, started diving at dark," he said.

He, nor rescue crews could handle the situation due to low visibility and the fact the car was submerged some 18 feet. So they marked it and returned in the morning with a wrecker. Around noon, authorities found an adult male inside the car.

"Once it happens once, you kind of scratch your head but once you start to see it happen multiple times, you're like, maybe there's something we can do about it," Lt. Robbie Hagaman with Richmond Fire.

In January of 2012, a man also died in a car after heading into the river at this same spot. Three months later - another vehicle recovery here, but that guy made it out fine.

"It's the type of situation where we'd look at possibly protection or some barriers that would possibly keep vehicles from being able to access the river at this point," Hagaman said.

Spectators watched in amazement Wednesday as the latest river recovery played out right in front of them.

"They had it in the air for 20 or 25 minutes. It's surprising to me because I came down here to sit down and fish," Daniel Bradley said.

"I had to step away for a minute. I had to say a prayer," Captain Cricket added.

While the recovery is complete, many questions still remain. Did the driver intentionally head into the water or was this a horrible accident? What was the exact cause of death? These are answers likely to unfold soon.

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