Car driven into Kalamazoo River not seen in fly-over

BATTLE CREEK, MICH. - After a fifth day of searching, Battle Creek police said Thursday they have not found a car and driver believed to be in the Kalamazoo River.

A Civil Air Patrol plane flew over the river from the confluence of the Kalamazoo with the Battle Creek River just west of Washington Street to Morrow Pond near Galesburg in Kalamazoo County.

The city said the plane flew the 20 miles at about 900 feet over the river, using cameras, but did not see the car.

The search began for the 2017 Hyundai on Saturday morning after a motorist saw the car leave Dickman Road near Capital Avenue and crash through a fence and into the concrete channel of the river. Police were called about the crash at 4:44 a.m.

Also Thursday, police released video of a car, its headlights and taillights still illuminated, floating backwards down the river. The video was from surveillance cameras at Treehouse Foods, the former Ralston plant at 150 W. McCamly St.

A bumper from the car was found Saturday in the water between Washington and Kendall streets and police said Lewis' phone last  displayed a location near the crash site.

►Related: Car might have been found in Kalamazoo River; missing person report filed

Investigators believe the car was driven by Cortez Lewis, 31, of Detroit, who also spent time in Battle Creek. His girlfriend rented the car and family members have been watching the search. He is described at 5-foot-9 and 195 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

The search was concentrated for three days in the channel and at the confluence of the two rivers, where the water was about 20 feet deep. Beginning Tuesday officials expanded the search downstream and used boats with sonar, but again could not find the car. The Civil Air Patrol flyover was delayed Wednesday by high winds.

After the search Tuesday, investigators decided to suspend the search from the water, fearing that the high and fast water was dangerous for divers.

Officials did not announced Thursday the next search effort.

Anyone with information is asked to call Battle Creek Police at 269-966-3322 or Silent Observer at 269-964-3888.

Contact Trace Christenson at 269-966-0685 or tchrist@battlecreekenquirer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @TSChristenson

© 2017 Battle Creek Enquirer


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