ALAMEDA (CBS SF) — A man who died when his van plunged from a surface street in Alameda into the Oakland Estuary Sunday morning has been identified as Paul Scherer, 68, of Alameda, according to the Alameda County coroner’s bureau and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Bryan Barr said witnesses called 911 around 8:16 a.m. and reported that a vehicle went into the water off the 2900 block of Glascock Street.
Those witnesses said they saw someone in vehicle before it slipped under the water.
Rescue teams from the Coast Guard and other local agencies rushed to the scene and began searching the murky waters for the vehicle. A crew from the San Francisco Fire Department recovered the minivan and body around 9:40 a.m.
The minivan was discovered about 30 feet below the surface between the Park Street Bridge and the Fruitvale Bridge.
Authorities did not say if the victim was a male or female. The Alameda County Coroner’s Office was called to the scene.
According to the East Bay Times, witnesses told authorities that somebody drove the mini-van south on Derby Street before going up on the sidewalk and turning down an embankment into the water.
The mini-van floated briefly, then slowly sank beneath the water.
The car’s lone occupant was brought to the surface and given CPR while being transported, even though, by that time, he had been underwater for more than two hours.
A dive team from the sheriff’s office assisted Oakland firefighters in the recovery of the vehicle, sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said.
The driver was the only person in the van, Kelly said.
Police didn’t want to speculate if he had intentionally driven into the estuary, but the driver would have had to steer around these concrete barriers and down a flight of stairs to get there.
“There are indications that there was some maneuvering going on, but what that means at this point, we’re not sure,” said Oakland Police Sgt. Robert Trevino.