ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A downed fence and tire tracks led to a four-hour search Thursday of a pond in East Orange County, but investigators now believe it was the result of a car crash that was never reported.
Dive teams were called out to search the pond near SR-408 and Alafaya Trail.
Investigators said they feared a car may have gone into the pond, but that turned out not to be the case.
The fence was destroyed and there were tire tracks that led into the water.
However, troopers on the ground and the sheriff's office helicopter in the air searched for hours only to come up with nothing. Authorities also used a boat equipped with sonar and scanned the entire pond at least twice.
In the end, they said it appeared whoever went into the water was able to find the car and pulled it out before authorities got there.
"It's absolutely a waste of resources. The sheriff's office had to bring their helicopter out. They had to bring a boat out, manpower out to operate the sonar. It's a waste of time for law enforcement," said Sgt. Kim Montes of the Florida Highway Patrol.
Now, FHP said it is looking for the driver involved and the possible tow truck driver.
“The tow truck drivers know the rules. They know that they need to see an officer on scene. If it’s any reputable tow truck company, they work with us enough. Obviously the driver who went in there by law is required to report the crash,” Montes said.
FHP said the driver should have contacted law enforcement as well.
Troopers said they will look for the driver, who is believed to be in a light-colored vehicle, but it will be difficult to determine if the driver may have been under the influence when they crashed.
“Obviously that’s always one of our indicators, when someone doesn’t want law enforcement to do a report. In a crash like this where they left the roadway, that’s one of the scenarios we look at,” Montes said.
If the driver can be located, troopers said that person’s insurance should be responsible for reimbursing the Florida Department of Transportation for the cost of repairing the fence.
Earlier this year, Orlando police were accused of not doing enough to look for a woman who drove into a retention pond near Universal Orlando.
She wasn’t found for more than a month.