Man dies after driving into Bluffton lake

gmartin@islandpacket.comDecember 7, 2011 

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Beaufort County law enforcement and rescue personnel watch as a vehicle is pulled from a lake in Bluffton's Sandy Pointe development Wednesday night. Driver Le Roy Garner died after apparently driving the car into the lake.

SARAH WELLIVER, THE ISLAND PACKET

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The body of an 82-year-old Bluffton man was recovered Wednesday evening after he drove his car into a lake in the Sandy Pointe development.

The body of Le Roy Garner was pulled from the lake by the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office dive team after his red Toyota Solara drove into the water, according to a release from Capt. Bob Bromage of the Sheriff's Office. Garner was the sole occupant of the vehicle and there are no signs of foul play, the release said. An autopsy will be performed today at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

The investigation into the crash is being conducted by the Sheriff's Office, the Beaufort County Coroner's Office and the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the release said.

Witnesses said they saw Garner slowly drive the car into the lake with his windows down and seat belt on at about 3:22 p.m.

Henry Ward was near the lake's bank when he saw the man drive into the water at what he estimated to be 5 mph.

"I was yelling at him, but he didn't respond," Ward said. "His car was just coasting out there and sunk. I went in, but it was too cold and I couldn't see anything."

The Sandy Pointe development is just southwest of the intersection of the Bluffton and Buckwalter parkways.

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