Warren County Sheriff’s Office recovers vehicle from Sunflower River Diversion Canal

Published 8:14 pm Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Following a two-day effort, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office and other community agencies recovered a submerged vehicle from the Sunflower River Diversion Canal.

According to sheriff’s office reports, the 2004 Ford Taurus Sedan had likely been submerged for the last 17 years.

“The tag expired in 2005,” Sheriff Martin Pace said. “That means the vehicle was pretty much brand new when it sunk, and there’s a good chance that this vehicle has been in the water since late 2004 or early 2005.”

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The sedan was recovered with help from the Vicksburg Fire Department dive team, led by Deputy Chief Trey Martin; Ward’s Wrecker Service and Sheriff’s Deputy Johnny Beauchamp.

After postponing recovery efforts on Monday when the team realized their tow cable wasn’t long enough to reach the vehicle, estimated to be at a depth of 25 feet, the search was again postponed on Tuesday due to weather.

On Wednesday, Ward’s Wrecker Service had an extended tow cable and the water was a frigid 48 degrees.

“I cannot say enough for the professionalism and skill of the Vicksburg Fire Department dive team,” Pace said. “They had zero visibility but were still able to attach chains to the car underwater, which then connected to the tow cable. We are thankful for Ward’s and their commitment as well.”

Once the vehicle surfaced and was secured onto the tow truck, it was brought back to Ward’s tow yard, where a Culkin Fire Department truck hosed it off and the sheriff’s office was able to conduct a thorough search of the vehicle.

Pace confirmed no human remains or personal items were found in the car, and also stated that deputies were able to locate the car’s VIN number.

Because the car’s last tag was issued in 2004 or 2005, the sheriff’s office had to submit a request to the Mississippi State Department of Revenue in order to find ownership information.

The car was first discovered last Friday by a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers team conducting routine sonar work in the Sunflower River Diversion Canal. The USACE team contacted the sheriff’s office on Monday, and recovery efforts commenced.