Officials recovered a young boy’s body from the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal on Thursday, close to the area where an SUV plunged into the water Sunday morning, killing several family members.
Delaware Online reports that although authorities have not officially confirmed the identity of the body, 6-year-old Ethan Lindsey’s father posted on social media that his son had been found.
“Through all the hard work and dedication, they have found my little man so he can be back with his brothers and cousin,” Willis Lindsey posted on Facebook.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, the crash happened at around 9 a.m. Sunday morning after the driver of a Chevrolet HHR plunged into the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal, around a mile west of the William V. Roth Jr. Bridge. A bystander called police shortly after.
When first responders arrived, they noticed a teen girl sitting on the banks, crying, according to Master Cpl. Michael Austin of the Delaware State Police. The girl, 16, said that the driver of the vehicle, identified as her boyfriend, 18-year-old Willis Lindsey, pulled her out of the water before he jumped back in. She said the teen went back into the canal to save his younger brothers and cousin.
Willis didn’t make it back out of the water.
First responders found Willis’ body in the canal and pronounced him dead at the scene. When authorities pulled the vehicle from the water, they found the bodies of Willis’ 16-year-old brother and his 12-year-old cousin inside. Ethan Lindsey was involved in the crash but was not inside the vehicle, prompting a 5-day search.
“He was a hero,” Austin said of Willis. “He tried to do everything he could to help the remaining passengers in that vehicle.”
The accident involved HHR only and authorities still aren’t sure what happened to make the vehicle plunge into the canal. The group was on their way to watch the youngest boy play in a football game, CBS 3 reports.
Youth football coach Larry Simpson told CBS 3 that he had coached all three brothers, who were all close to one another.
“He loved his family like unbelievable. I can really see him rather stay down there with them than come up without them,” Simpson said of Willis. “I really believe that. That was Willis.”
Willis’ mother, Brandi Lindsey, said her son was driving the SUV behind her car when the accident happened, according to ABC 6.
“We followed the GPS right off the canal and we kind of had to make some loops and turns. We didn’t see our son behind us so we stopped and turned around,” she said. “All we saw was the cloud of dust behind us and we saw his girlfriend on the rocks.”
“He wouldn’t want to live in the world without them so I know he would have went to help them.”
The story continues to develop. Check back for further updates.
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[Feature Photo: Chesapeake and Delaware Canal eastern entrance via Wiki Commons public domain]