A 28-year-old man died after his vehicle went off the road and into the James River northeast of Mitchell, authorities determined following an extensive search on Wednesday.
Officials are unsure when the crash occurred, according to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety. Davison County Search and Rescue was called to assist with the effort around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday. The search was on 250th Street, aka National Guard Road, between 410th Avenue (Foster Street) and 412th Avenue. There is a bridge that goes over the James at the location.
Authorities Wednesday recovered the 2008 Chrysler Town and Country Van, which they say entered the south ditch of the road, went through a barbed-wire fence and into the river.
The body of the male, whose name is not being released at this time, was found on the river’s shore about a quarter-mile away. The South Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the crash, and authorities say a search is continuing for potentially more vehicle occupants.
The James River has been in the midst of major flooding since mid-March. The river has been at major flood stage and dropped to moderate flood stage on Wednesday but remains well outside of its banks.
This is the second instance in a two-week span that a search and rescue team has been deployed to search for a vehicle in the James River.
Authorities on Saturday, March 23 sent boats out on the James River in Sanborn County along Highway 37, about eight miles northeast of Letcher. That’s where a garbage truck with two passengers went off the highway and into the river. Two men died in the crash, which occurred on Thursday, March 21, and their bodies were recovered Sunday, March 24.
Law enforcement determined the crash was due to an equipment failure with the truck.
Agencies involved in that search and recovery included the Sanborn County Sheriff’s Office, Miner County Sheriff’s Office, Beadle County Dive Team, South Dakota Highway Patrol, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department, South Dakota Department of Transportation and Lincoln Auto Towing of Huron.