Box truck goes over Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel rail, Coast Guard suspends search for person possibly in water

Posted at 9:39 AM, Dec 29, 2020

CAPE CHARLES, Va. - Officials are responding to a crash that happened Tuesday morning at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

The crash happened around 8:30 a.m., at the 14MP Northbound on the CBBT. Officials said the vehicle involved is a two-axle, 6-tire box truck.

The truck went over the rail into the water the east side of the northbound span between North Channel Bridge and the northernmost island, Virginia Beach officials said.

Witnesses told officials that the box truck was traveling northbound just before the second island and was seen going into the water. Virginia Beach Fire, Virginia Beach Police, and Virginia Beach EMS are working together with the US Coast Guard and Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Authority searching for one patient that maybe in the water.

Witnesses reported seeing a man exit the tractor trailer and drift west, according to officials.

Sector Virginia watchstanders issued an urgent marine information broadcast for mariners to keep a lookout for the man. The driver, 47-year-old Erik Mezick, worked for a company out of Baltimore called Cloverland Farms Dairy.

Crofton Diving, of Portsmouth, will attempt to recover the truck on Wednesday, after marine conditions improve.

Police say the search for Mezick has been unsuccessful so far and will be suspended at dark and then will resume Wednesday morning, if necessary.

“The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the CBBT are with the family and loved ones of Mr. Mezick during this difficult time,” said Jeff Holland, Executive Director of the CBBT.

The Coast Guard suspended their search for the man Tuesday evening.

"We would like to extend our condolences to the family and friends of this individual during this time of tragedy,” said Capt. Samson Stevens, commander of Coast Guard Sector Virginia. “We would like to thank the local first responder agencies for their partnership and dedication in coordinating efforts and searching throughout the day with our crews.”

Coast Guard crews searched approximately 178 square miles with multiple crews and assets from Coast Guard Station Cape Charles, the Coast Guard Cutter Hawk, and Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C.

No other details are available at this time. Additional updates will be issued after a cause of the accident can be determined.

The facility has sustained guardrail and curb damage. CBBT Maintenance crews are responding to make emergency repairs.

A single lane of traffic is currently open in the northbound direction.

CBBT Police are still investigating the circumstances of the accident. There is no current impact to the waterways from debris or pollution at this time.