Investigation continues into how vehicle went into water near Lover’s Key

Published: August 5, 2021 3:43 PM EDT
Updated: August 5, 2021 5:47 PM EDT

A loud noise woke up Chad Baptiste and his mother on Wednesday around 4 a.m.

“It kind of surprised me and my mother,” Baptiste said.

They didn’t think much of it, so they went back to sleep.

When they woke up, they noticed a car submerged and a body floating close to it near their Fort Myers Beach home on Estrellita Drive.

“We were like, oh my goodness, what do we do in that situation,” Baptiste said.

Baptiste said someone else called 911 because first responders arrived a short while later.

Lee County deputies and ambulances arrived and crime scene tape went up as authorities investigated through the early hours of the morning how the vehicle ended up in the water.

While all the trucks, deputies, and boats are gone now, people in the community are still thinking about the driver’s family.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate how the vehicle got into the water at Big Carlos Pass and how long it was there.

No details have been released at this time.

Baptiste said he gave the sheriff’s office a surveillance video that shows a sudden flash recorded around 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday that could be the vehicle.

“We saw a car driving over this way and into this empty lot over here and next thing we saw was headlights in the water,” Baptiste said.

The quick burst of lights makes Baptiste believe that the car was speeding.

“I think 60 miles per hour, I think, I’m not sure,” Baptiste said.

The speed limit is about 20 miles per hour.

The vehicle was pulled out of the water around 1 a.m. Thursday.

Tire tracks were visible on the empty lot next to the water but LCSO won’t say if they believe the tracks belong to the car.

LCSO is also not releasing the name of the person found in the water near the car.

“It’s pretty devastating,” Baptiste said. “Can’t even imagine what the family members are going through.”

A diver searches the water near a vehicle that went into Big Carlos Pass on Wednesday. (CREDIT: WINK News)