Authorities fear worst, find truck empty in Ohio River
CRITTENDEN COUNTY, Ky. — As the wire rope turned slowly on a tow truck, the tire of a white pickup truck came slowly out of the Ohio River late Wednesday afternoon.
Then, as County Emergency Management Director David Travis waited, more of the pickup emerged. Travis was finally able to see what he had spent all morning praying for. It was empty.
"I'm relieved, very relieved," he said, watching the pick up be towed to dry land.
When Travis had arrived hours earlier at the Elizabethtown Landing, he knew only what fishermen had told him. They reported seeing the tail lights of a vehicle disappearing below the surface and a dark figure running into the woods around 4:30 a.m.
In the hours the followed, the shores of the landing were covered with onlookers, filled with curiosity and, as one man admitted, a sense of dread.
"We're hoping it's nobody we know," Danny Browning said.
But onlookers like Browning and first responders would spend hours waiting, crews battling not just intense heat but challenges beneath the water.
"Once you get 15 to 20 feet, it's solid black," diver Ryan Word explained.
As it turns out, the vehicle was nearly 20 feet below the surface. Word admitted later he was not even sure if it was a car or truck, let alone whether or not anyone was inside.
That's why when two trucks finally succeeded in pulling up the truck shortly before 3 p.m., he was relieved to see just that.
"Everybody goes home, nobody has lost any family," he said. "Its all a plus."
That 2000 white Chevy 4x4 pickup was reported missing July 16 from Great Rivers Marine Service in Columbus, Kentucky, in Hickman County.
When that truck was stolen, the company reported it did have some copper in it. The license plate had been ripped off when the truck was recovered and rocks on the gas pedal.
Anyone with information about that stolen truck is asked to call the Hickman County Sheriff's Department or the sheriff in Crittenden County.