CHICAGO (CBS) — One second they were driving down a street. The next, their car was in the Calumet River filling up with water.
There are important questions being posed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard, the alderman and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to find out who has jurisdiction over this boat launch and why there are no signs posted showing that the road ends at the water.
“It’s no warning. There’s nowhere to stop. It’s nothing.”
The mother of Davontae Searcy questions why there are no signs on West 136th Street & South Calhoun showing the road leads to a concrete boat launch.
Searcy, Demetrius Hendricks and Christopher Henderson were in a red Pontiac Grand Prix early Sunday morning when they drove into the Calumet River during heavy rainfall after leaving a party.
“They couldn’t see. When they realized it was a dead end, the wheel got stuck and they was sliding down, so they really couldn’t get back or anything,” said Latonya Simunjak, the mother of Davontae Searcy.
In the light of day, it can be seen West 136th Street leads straight to a boat ramp. There are no signs warning drivers. The road ends and the river begins.
Christopher Henderson was able to make it out of the car.
“He heard splashing behind him and I am guessing he assumed they were struggling in the water as well,” said Veronica Henderson, Christopher’s mother. “But how can you see underwater, in the dark?”
Sources said an officer on routine patrol spotted Henderson on Torrence Avenue in a dazed state. Once at the hospital, he told police he was in a car with friends that went into the river.
A check of surveillance video at Sunset Bay Marina confirmed the tragedy. A search by air and water was launched with the marine unit using sonar to try to locate Searcy and Hendricks.
“I know wherever they’re at, they’re together,” said Latonya Simunjak, Davontae Searcy’s mother. “And I know we gonna find them. They’re going to be OK. I hope they do put a sign up so this don’t happen to no one else.”
Alderman Sue Garza said she’s working to find out who owns the boat launch. The owner of Sunset Bay Marina refused to comment.