Motorist found dead after plunge into Topaz Lake

mcsoOn Friday, March 9, 2012, at approximately 3:30 pm, Mono County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch received a call regarding a possible vehicle off the highway and into Topaz Lake around Highpoint Curve on Hwy 395.

Mono County Sheriff’s Deputies, Antelope Valley Fire Department, Mono County Paramedics, California Highway Patrol, and Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputies and Dive Team were dispatched to the scene. A single vehicle was located completely submerged in Topaz Lake with one occupant inside the vehicle. Douglas County Dive Team with the assistance of Mono County Paramedics located the occupant of the vehicle and determined that they were deceased and would recover the body from the vehicle. Efforts are currently under way to retrieve the vehicle from the lake.

California Highway Patrol is the lead agency into the investigation of what caused the accident. Final cause of death of the occupant of the vehicle will be determined by the Mono County Sheriff’s Office upon completion of autopsy and toxicology results.

Prepared and written by: Jennifer Hansen, Public Information Officer


, , , ,

12 Responses to Motorist found dead after plunge into Topaz Lake

  1. Tim Fesko March 10, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

    Great job by Antelope Valley Fire Dept, Douglas and others. Nice to have paramedics stationed in Walker! Great job to all the responded. The cooperation is so nice to see!

    • Rob March 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

      When you’re all done patting yourselves on the back, I’d like to remind you the victim died.

      So why are first responders being accused of not showing up for 3 hours?

    • Wayne Deja March 12, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

      Tim Fesko…..Is it true it took first responders 3 HOURS to get to the scene???…if so,doesn’t sound like such a great job afterall.

      • meeka March 12, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

        the first of the emergency crews arrived about 45 minutes after the call but, nothing was done for 3 hours….. “waiting for the divers” they all said

  2. Meeka March 11, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    He did NOT drive off the highway. He was parked on the shore exactly where he had fished for decades. This man was an unsung hero and no one can get the story straight. We lost one of the greatest hero’s in America’s history………… this is a travesty. It took emergency response over 3 hours to get there…… there was no hope after the first 15 minutes………….. those of us who knew him are dead inside

    • meeka March 12, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

      and for those who think we did not try and save him ourselves – we did – we were all trying but the Jeep sunk fast it’s a steep downgrade in 40 degree water……. we all tried………. I personally would have given my life for this man and the pups but, we couldn’t get to him…… We are dead inside………..

      • Wayne Deja March 13, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

        meeka…..After reading more about this situation,I think if anyone attempted to enter the water after the Jeep went in,a very good chance they would have become victims too…One thing if he made it out of the vehicle and was attempting to swim back to shore…a whole different situation if anyone attempted a rescue having to swim out in 40 degree water,then have to open the door,and attempt to pull Mr.McConnell out,and then get back to shore,and all the while be dealing with a vehicle sinking rapidly in icy water.I can think back to 1990,and the attempted rescue of the 2 teen-agers that went through the ice at Convict Lake…5 people lost their lives trying to save them….and some of them were firemen and trained rescuers….and they had a boat.Again,want to say sorry for your loss…but DON’T ever blame yourself,or be thinking you could have done more to save him…Sounds to me like the first responders could have been a little bit more compassionate and handled the situation better than they did after the fact.

  3. D_Ziegler March 11, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    Was any of the Frogmen Mike Booher?

  4. Big Rick O'Brien March 12, 2012 at 12:04 am #

    The Record Courier out of Gardnerville reported that the man also had 2 dogs with him when the jeep went into the water. Sad, all the way around.

  5. sierragrl March 12, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

    sorry for your loss Meeka…That’s what I heard too, that he did not drive off the highway into the lake, but had been fishing and went into the water from the shore. Sad either way.

  6. johndoeml March 13, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    meeka, it’s a sad story. But the medics and firemen can’t just dive into 40 degree water without gear or there would be more lives at risk. As you say, it was over in 15 minutes or less.

  7. Meeka March 14, 2012 at 7:37 am #

    Wayne Ty for your kind words. I was waist high in water as well as the other anglers. We couldn’t reach him. It went down so fast. Frank was the greatest man I have ever met and I would have given my life for him but we couldn’t reach him. It was too fast.
    The first CHP officer on the scene was very compassionate and obviously not equipped to dive in 40 degree water all 40 of the rescue personnel were compassionate but none could do what needed to be done. But 3 hours. For the one individual who could have saved his life?? Is there only 1 diver?? Did he come from truckee??? 3 hours….
    In my logical mind I know everything was probably done according to procedure
    In my heart I scream in horror for loosing my hero, my friend


Leave a Reply