A 74-year-old Oxford man and his two dogs died after he crashed his 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee into a large pond located on the south side of Lakeville Rd., between Grampian Dr. and Barr Rd., at 7:21 p.m. Nov. 1.
The victim, Edward Collin Cline, a Vietnam War veteran and member of North Oakland Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 334, was transported to Crittenton Hospital in Rochester Hills where he passed away the following morning.
His death was ruled accidental by the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office.
According to the 58-year-old Lapeer man who witnessed the incident, he was headed west on Lakeville Rd. when he spotted Cline’s Jeep in a ditch on the south side of the road.
Cline was “trying to get out” by “rocking (the) car back and forth.” The witness made a U-turn and stopped to see if he could provide assistance.
He observed Cline’s vehicle got free of the ditch, “accelerated forward” and drove into a large pond. He told Cline to stay in the vehicle and called 9-1-1.
At some point, Cline rolled down the driver side window, escaped the Jeep and was “flailing in (the) water,” the witness wrote in his statement to deputies.
Despite his self-described “limited swimming ability,” the witness entered the pond in an attempt to rescue Cline. He was able to reach the vehicle, but not Cline, who “went under a couple times,” the report stated.
Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies tossed flotation devices with lifelines to the witness, who was hanging on to the sinking vehicle’s roof after having been weakened by the cold water, the report stated.
He was able to grab the lifeline and Cline, who at this point was observed to be “motionless” and floating face up, the report stated. Deputies and bystanders pulled both of them to shore.
Once Cline was on land, deputies attempted to revive him by administering CPR chest compressions. Oxford firefighters transported him to Crittenton.
The Jeep then sank to the bottom of the pond. Divers from the sheriff’s office went into the water and confirmed there were no other people inside. After the Jeep was removed from the water by a tow truck, Cline’s two dogs were found dead inside.