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Troopers: Car Carrying S.C. Couple Sank Quickly

Posted January 31, 2007

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— The state Highway Patrol released new information Wednesday into the drowning death of a South Carolina couple traveling through Nash County.

Wayne Anthony Guay, 57, and his wife, Dianne Guay, 55, died on Dec. 7 when their vehicle ran off northbound Interstate 95 into a swamp. According to the findings of the Highway Patrol's crash reconstruction team, the Guays' vehicle traveled down a 10-foot embankment and entered the water, hitting a tree on the driver-side door.

Investigators said the collision shattered the driver-side window and created a hole in the car door, causing water to enter the vehicle quickly. Troopers estimated the vehicle was completely submerged within 90 seconds.

The vehicle was not noticed until Dec. 11, when a state Department of Transportation worker saw a piece of luggage floating in the water.

The Guay family has criticized authorities for not searching more thoroughly for the car after a passing motorist reported seeing a vehicle run off of I-95 into some nearby water. The Highway Patrol has said troopers followed the proper procedures in searching for the vehicle.

The vehicle was submerged in 12 feet of water and was surrounded by natural barriers that prevented either door from opening properly, authorities said.

The Highway Patrol also found that the accident was not related to any vehicle defects or collision with another vehicle. Troopers said they don't believe the accident was caused by Wayne Guay, who was driving the car, having a medical emergency.

Because the area where the crash occurred is known for frequent deer sightings, troopers said the accident might have occurred as Wayne Guay tried to avoid hitting a deer on the highway.

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  • Miss.Understood Feb 1, 2007

    this is one of those things: you don't know who to blame. you can't blame the motorist who called the police, because he did what everyone should do; call for help. you can't blame the police, they did everything they are trained to do. i feel for the family of the victims, but people shouldn't take their anger out on the police all the time. they're the ones that are going to save you when you need help, don't hate. sometimes you have to let it go, and stop pointing the finger.

  • cm258 Jan 31, 2007

    I think the motorist should have been charged, he saw the accident. He may have been able to help the motorist. God bless the family.

  • anonemoose Jan 31, 2007

    A) Car in the water, then B) How long until passing motorist sees car in the water, C) then how long for the passing motorist to pick up the phone and dial, D) how long for the COMM CTR to take the call, E) how long to enter the call into CAD, and dispatch the responders, then F) how long to send the other agency a DCI message about the collision, then to enter the info into CAD, and dispatch..... I doubt that everybody was even dispatched on this type call in less than 90 seconds.

    Also, something everybody seems to forget, the car was sunk in 12 feet of murky water AT NIGHT. The car was found during a bright sunny day with the sun directly overhead, and now it comes out that the FLOATING LUGGAGE is what got the DOT workers attention, so maybe the car was harder to see than some imagine.

  • paydapiper Jan 31, 2007

    As an EMS/Fire worker with 25 years experiance, I would like to explain something, that is how this could have happened. On any given day, we respond to numerous "vehicles in ditch or median" calls on the interstates. In most cases, these vehicles are gone when we get there. In many others, the actual accident location is miles away from where the caller states. It is simply not practical, not to mention dangerous to walk along the Interstate. We check as best we can, but if we do not see a vehicle or evidence of a wreck and the caller does not hang around, which is the case most of the time, we have to move on, we do not have the resources to walk up and down the Interstate. My condolences to the family of these folks, but this was not the fault of the Highway Patrol or the Fire/EMS folks, it was a tragic accident.

  • wyheel Jan 31, 2007

    A newspaper story about this says that the caller gave a location that was 3 miles away from where the accident actually happened.

  • Browneyez_25_80 Jan 31, 2007

    john_deere_gurl2004, I completely agree with you. You can't expect a rescue worker/trooper to respond in 90 seconds. They may not have been close to the area to respond that early. The blame can be placed on the police but given the facts and some close thought....can you really blame them? The person who called didn't even stay at the scene which would make it difficult for the police to know exactly where it was.

  • Love my boys Jan 31, 2007

    Unless you have been to the accident site or talked with the responding trooper, you don't know what the scene looked like. It was dark outside and no visible signs of an accident could be seen. The water was murky so unless you were close enough (like the DOT worker) you wouldn't have seen the car. Like I stated earlier, the trooper followed procedure as well as fire and rescue personnel. Yes, it's a tragedy and a horrible way to die. If you look at the facts, unless the trooper or fire/rescue personnel were following that car, those people were doomed the instant they hit the water. It's not feasible to say a trooper could have made it to the scene within 90 seconds to rescue those people.

  • badjudgement Jan 31, 2007

    The caller had no idea that the car was in water. You can always look back and say what if, but if most people saw a car in what they thought was a ditch, they wouldn't have even called the SHP.

  • superman Jan 31, 2007

    The caller should have stayed out of human compassion but it wouldnt have changed anything. The caller was not responbile for the tragedy.

  • spiritwarriorwoman Jan 31, 2007

    demar -
    So what? What would you wish a caller in to do if it were you they saw???
    God bless.
    Rev. RB