A man is dead after the dump truck he was driving rolled into the pond Tuesday at The Grand Reserve and Lodge on the Uchee Hill Highway in Phenix City, authorities said.
The driver was identified as Arnold Kenneth Franklin Jr., 65, of Smiths, Ala., said Russell County Coroner Arthur Sumbry Jr. He was pronounced dead at 2:43 p.m. of possible drowning at the scene. Franklin’s body will be transported to the Department of Forensic Sciences in Montgomery for an autopsy.
Phenix City Police Chief Ray Smith said a dive team with the Russell County Sheriff’s Office recovered the body in about 30 feet of water after the crash occurred about 12:30 p.m. The driver was hauling dirt near the dam and ran too close to the edge of the pond.
The truck was submerged in the water. Smith said the dive team from Russell County was called because Phenix City doesn’t have the equipment.
Bob Franklin, director of the Russell County Emergency Management Agency, said the dive team was practicing for such an incident when it got the call.
Franklin said the driver was at the lodge placing fill dirt to make a dam bigger. He said the truck went into the water on the passenger side and the driver was trapped inside.
“We had been hoping he had found an air pocket,” Franklin said.
Franklin said that because of gas and oil that leaked into the water an environmental cleanup is necessary.
He was not sure if the truck could be removed from the water on Tuesday.