Search continues after truck drives off Meighan Bridge into Coosa River; witnesses sought

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UPDATE May 22, 2018 9:40 AM: The victim has been identified as Bobby Lee Benefield, 56, of the Ballplay community of Etowah County, according to Gadsden Police Sgt. John Hallman.

Hallman says investigators have not been able to definitively conclude if there was another individual in the truck or not at the time of the crash. Therefore, Gadsden Fire will continue search operations with help from Southside Fire, Rainbow City Fire and Ballplay Bend Fire.

Accident investigators need your help. If you saw Mr. Benefield prior to the incident, please contact Gadsden Police Department Traffic Investigator Sam Lowe at 256-549-4631. 

The incident happened on Sunday, May 20th around 2:07 p.m. Benefield was driving a maroon 2000 Chevy Silverado eastbound on Meighan Blvd.

— ORIGINAL —

A recovery operation has successfully brought a truck that crashed into the Coosa River on Thursday to the surface, according to a release from Gadsden Police.

Gadsden Police responded to reports that a truck ran off the Meighan Bridge at around 2:07 p.m. on Sunday, according to Sgt. John Hallman with the department. The truck was reportedly traveling eastbound and crossed the median before driving off of the north side of the bridge into the river. 

Recovery efforts were suspended on Sunday night, and resumed in the morning using boats with sonar and divers. With multiple agencies assisting from outside Etowah County, divers located the truck on Monday morning near where it was reported to have entered the water, according to Hallman. 

Airbags were used to float the truck from the bottom of the river, and the truck was floated to the bank where it was pulled out of the water using a tow truck. 

A deceased adult male was found in the truck, and his identity has yet to be released. Authorities have received reports of another occupant, and recovery efforts will continue until that information is verified, according to Hallman. 

CBS 42 News will bring you more information as it becomes available. 

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