TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) - During a morning walk on Monday morning, Dave Rhoads heard sirens coming from the direction of Quinlan Park.
Based on the park’s history, he had a pretty good idea why.
“It is a fairly common occurrence,” said Rhoads. “It has happened about six times in the last ten years.”
Austin Police say a man in his 40s was found dead in the water just a few feet from where his car sat submerged in water.
During a 911 call, the boater who made the discovery said the car was sitting about 25 feet off from the Quinlan Park boat ramp underneath just eight feet of water.
Austin Police pulled the car out of the water as they have done before near the boat ramp that sits at the end of a dark road.
“There have been some cases where people have died and others where people have been rescued,” said APD detective David Fugitt.
APD’s homicide unit was called to the scene to investigate what happened. Police said they are investigating whether the 40-year-old man committed suicide but won't know for sure until the results of an autopsy are known.
As investigators began their work Monday, the incident appeared similar to Lucia Rodriguez’s death in August 2009.
Rodriguez took a wrong turn while driving and plunged into the water.
After her death, a flashing yellow light was placed above a sign warning drivers of the approaching boat ramp. The curve leading up to the boat ramp was also re-striped and reflective sticks were also placed along the road.
But one safety measure that was not added was additional lighting.
“It is hare to see at night,” said Rhoads. “But the park is supposed to be closed anyway.”
The Travis County Parks said more lighting has not been added to the area because doing so could attract unwanted or illegal activity overnight to the day-use park.
However, they said each incident such as Monday’s leads to re-examination of safety measures wherever accidents may occur.
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