A South Dos Palos man was found dead in a Fresno County canal west of Firebaugh, according to California Highway Patrol.
The man, whose name was not released pending notification of next of kin, was identified as the driver of a black 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe that was found submerged in the canal Monday night, CHP Los Banos Officer Shannon Stiers said.
Another male passenger in the Tahoe told authorities he and the driver were traveling at about 8 p.m. Monday north on North Russell Avenue approaching a bridge over a canal south of West Althea Avenue when, for unknown reasons, the Tahoe swerved off the west side of the roadway into the canal, Stiers said.
The passenger told officers he exited the vehicle through the window and couldn’t find a cell phone to call 9-1-1, Stiers said. So he walked back to a residence in Dos Palos to make the call.
“(The passenger) stated he was unsure what happened to the driver,” Stiers said.
When CHP arrived on scene, emergency personnel took the SUV out of the water, but couldn’t find the driver inside.
A dive team from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department arrived at the scene Tuesday morning to look for the driver, Stiers said. They found him in the canal Tuesday afternoon.
Authorities were still investigating whether drugs or alcohol were involved in the collision, Stiers said.
This story has been corrected from an earlier version that reported the wrong date of the crash. The crash happened Monday, according to the CHP.