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Port Orange Police, Fire crews make cold water-rescue attempt Wednesday

Port Orange Police car in file photo.
Port Orange Police car in file photo.
Mike Royer

Police Officers and Fire Rescue crews in Port Orange worked on a water rescue in Wednesday morning’s chilly weather, after a car plunged into Spruce Creek. However, Port Orange Assistant Police Chief Wayne M. Miller says the occupant of the car was found to be already deceased. The accident happened along South Williamson Boulevard at Anita Street, at the Moody Bridge and Spruce Creek. Police say officers found the car around 7:30 Wednesday morning, “…completely submerged in the water in the center of Spruce Creek partially wedged against the bridge pylons.” The Medical Examiner will be performing an autopsy to determine the cause of death of the car occupant, 51-year old Michael K. Gross of Port Orange. Police say no one else was in the Nissan SUV Pathfinder. Two large wreckers from Fryer’s Towing Service were called to retrieve the SUV from the water.

Cold weather rescue effort

As police and fire rescue units arrived on the scene, Assistant Chief Miller says three Port Orange Police Officers, a Volusia County Sheriff’s Deputy, and two Port Orange firefighters (including one Fire Rescue Battalion Chief, according to unofficial sources) entered the water to retrieve and assist any victims in the submerged vehicle. The temperature at Daytona Beach International Airport on Wednesday morning between roughly 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. was 50-52 degrees, due to effects even this far south of the recent polar vortex. The National Weather Service data also shows that the rescue attempt was made when the wind chill around 7 a.m. was 44 degrees in Daytona Beach.

Port Orange Police Traffic Homicide Investigators are examining the circumstances of the fatal accident, and anyone with information about the incident can call Sergeant Thomas Aiken at 386-506-5840.

Click here to visit the Port Orange Police Department website.

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