Two Texas men died on May 23 after they attempted to jump over an open drawbridge with their vehicle, said officials.
The bridge was closed to traffic to allow a boat to pass, officials said.
But a witness said a passenger got out of the vehicle and pushed the arm gate up, said a press release from the state police department.
The passenger then returned to the vehicle as the driver drove toward the ramp at the end of the bridge, said officials.
The driver stopped for a moment, reversed, then “accelerated forward in an attempt to ‘jump’ the ramp of the bridge,” the office wrote.
2 Texas men die trying to jump car over open drawbridge. https://t.co/KkohbC6ReA
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 24, 2019
After the vehicle became airborne, it landed in the waterway before sinking to the bottom, said police.
The driver was not able to escape the sinking vehicle. The passenger was found outside of the submerged car, officials said.
“Both were pronounced dead at the scene by the Calcasieu Parish Coroner’s Office,” police wrote.
A toxicology report is pending, and the identity of the two men will be released after officials notify their next of kin.
The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Photos of the crash show what appear to be a Chevrolet Cruze submerged in the water.
Traffic Deaths Down
U.S. traffic deaths fell 3.1 percent in the first six months of 2018, according to preliminary figures released in October 2018, Reuters reported.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that 2017 traffic deaths fell by 1.8 percent to 37,133 after traffic deaths rose sharply in the previous two years, according to final figures. The U.S. traffic fatality rate fell to 1.08 deaths per 100 million miles traveled for the first half of 2018.
The fatality rate in 2017 was 1.16 million deaths per 100 million miles traveled—the second highest rate since 2008. “This is good news and bad news,” said Deborah Hersman, CEO of the National Safety Council, CNBC reported. “The total number of fatalities is not getting worse, but the situation is not getting better.”
Hersman cited distracted driving and higher speed limits for the number. “There are a number of states that have raised speed limits, some now have stretches at 80 or 85 miles per hour,” she said in the CNBC report.
In Texas, for example, she estimated that traffic fatalities jumped 7 percent from 2015 to 2017, in part due to higher speed limits in the state.
“We know it’s happening even though distracted driving data is hard to come by,” she said of drivers using smartphones while behind the wheel.
“Police reports on accidents often don’t report if the driver was distracted and in many accidents, people don’t self-report themselves.”