ABC News affiliate News 8 posted a breaking news item out of Coppell, Texas — an incorporated Dallas subdivision — at 7:27 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 31. At least one person confirmed dead after a car went into a creek, causing a significant backup on eastbound I-35 as on-lookers slowed traffic to observe the rescue workers attempting to retrieve the victim from the wreckage. At the time of initial posting, victim's identity was unknown, as well as how or when the accident occurred. Traffic alerts provided by the newscast suggested alternative routes for motorists to take during peak commuting hours to avoid snarled traffic around the area.
News 8 Midday updated the incident after locating an eyewitness to the accident. Police say the deadly crash involved a Toyota SUV going over an overpass on I-635, northeast of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport at approximately 6:07 a.m. according to the eyewitness who made a 911 call to the Coppell Police Department. The motorist witnessed a light color SUV traveling about 150 yards to plunge into the Grapevine Creek after inexplicably leaving the highway, crossing the center median, and hitting the edge of the bridge. Police confirmed that the driver, later identified as 61-year-old Jay T. Clement, died due to injuries sustained by the crash.
Lewisville Fire Department's dive team assisted in recovery of victim and vehicle. The cause of the accident is still under investigation. Grapevine Creek is only four feet deep at the point where Clement's vehicle entered it. The SUV was never completely submerged, leaving cause of death in question and remaining under investigation.