For the second time in less than a week, the Corpus Christi Police Department's Search and Recovery Dive Team pulled a car out of the Nueces River near Labonte Park.
Lt. Tommy Nichols said the SUV went into the water shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday, and police were notified when a passerby on Interstate Hwy. 37 "saw a splash that went high enough over the bridge to make them think a car had gone in."
Police went to the river using sonar technology and were able to verify there was a vehicle in the water. The vehicle was pulled from the water Sunday morning.
The team also was at the river Tuesday morning, where it pulled out a black Mitsubishi.
Nichols said the white Mercedes-Benz SUV was reported stolen by its owner about 30 or 40 minutes after the original call came in.
"At this point it’s just under investigation," Nichols said. "We don’t know if it’s actually stolen or if this was something that involved him or one of his friends. We did find a floating cooler of beer, with ice in it."
The car did not go over the side of the bridge, he said. Preliminary investigation determined it entered the water via the boat ramp.
"There’s actually a mark on the boat ramp where the car struck the edge of the boat ramp on the way in," he said. "We weren’t able to ascertain that until the car came out, because we see the matching marks."
Nichols said there is also no evidence that leads them to believe the driver is still in the water.
"Whoever it was got out of the vehicle," he said. "Both windows were down, all the seatbelts were undone, the back hatch was open, and there was clearly no body inside of it when we brought it up, and there’s nothing that’s shown up since."
Nichols said the area has new safety features including signs which were put up within the last three months, a new guardrail, and flashing lights have been installed in the past. He said a recent sign and flashing light signs in the last have all been taken out by drivers.
"There's not a whole lot we can do on it," he said.