Officials look for body in Chesapeake

October 25, 1994|By Gregory P. Kane | Gregory P. Kane,Sun Staff Writer

Units from the Coast Guard and Natural Resources Police, along with an Annapolis City fire boat, searched the Chesapeake Bay yesterday for the body of a man believed to have jumped off the Bay Bridge, authorities said.

Two motorists called Maryland Transportation Authority Police on cellular telephones shortly before 1 a.m. yesterday to report an abandoned car on the bridge. Officer Robert Krauss arrived and found the car parked in the fast lane on the eastbound span with the motor still running, said Lori Vidil, a spokeswoman for transportation police.

Officer Krauss was able to make out a body in the water even though it was dark, Ms. Vidil said. He called the Coast Guard station at Annapolis and Natural Resources Police to help look for the body, Ms. Vidil said. Searchers still had not found it late yesterday afternoon.

"The body has gone beneath the surface of the water or has been dragged further down the bay," said Ms. Vidil.

The abandoned car was a 1993 Chevrolet Blazer registered to William Henry Johnson, 62, of the 1400 block of Damsel Lane in Annapolis, according to authorities. A transportation authority officer drove the car to the police detachment at the western approach to the bridge, where police examined it and found no foul play. The car was returned to the Johnson family, Ms.Vidil said.

Chief Gary Sheckells, a spokesman for the county Fire Department, said a dive team went to the bridge shortly after 1 a.m. to assist in the search and left about 3 a.m.

"We did not have any boats in the water. There was a Coast Guard boat and an Annapolis city fire boat searching. Our dive team was standing by ready, but unfortunately no one was found. . . . We never put divers in the water. Our participation was simply standby," Chief Sheckells said.

Darryl Claggett, spokesman for the Natural Resources Police, would not comment on how many boats were out looking for the body or how wide the search area was. A Maryland State Police helicopter made an aerial search of the bay, he said.

Ms. Vidil said the search would resume this morning.

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