Man dies after van becomes submerged in water

(WANE Photo)

HUNTERTOWN, Ind. (WANE) – A man died after the van he was driving became submerged in water early Thursday morning.

Emergency responders received a 911 call shortly after midnight from a woman who said she was following her co-worker’s van and watched it drive into a pond, according to Allen County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Corporal Jeremy Tinkel.

The crash happened on State Road 3 just north of Hathaway Road in front of the Resurrection Lutheran Church.

Investigators said the woman told them she was following the van when it suddenly jerked left, crossed the median, and then the northbound lanes of traffic. The woman then told police the van went over a small ditch and into the water.

The van was almost totally submerged in water when first responders arrived. Only the back right corner and very top of the van could be seen above water.

Tinkel said water rescue crews were able to get the man out, but the driver was likely underwater for approximately 15 minutes.

Paramedics rushed the man to the hospital in critical condition, but he was later pronounced dead by hospital staff.

The name of the man has not been released.

The van included markings for “The Cleaning Company,” which matches the logo for a janitorial and floor cleaning services company based in Fort Wayne on Transportation Drive.

Tinkel said investigators will work to reconstruct the crash. At this time, it’s unknown if alcohol or drugs played a factor. Investigators will also try and determine if a medical condition might have contributed to the crash. There did not appear to be skid marks on either side of the road.

The van narrowly missed two utility poles near the pond.

Divers determined after a search of the pond that no other people were in the van.

The Fort Wayne Fire Department Water Rescue Team, Huntertown Fire Department, TRAA, and Allen County Sheriff’s Department assisted at the scene.

Tinkel said the Parkview Samaritan Helicopter was initially paged but later grounded after the man was pulled from the van. A FWPD officer escorted a TRAA ambulance from the scene to the hospital. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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