A 61-year-old man was found dead face down and his wheelchair was flipped in a flooded out road in a south Manatee County subdivision, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.
At 8:53 p.m. Sunday, deputies responded to the 6900 block of 44th Ct. E. in the Sara Palms subdivision after a 911 caller reported seeing the victim. The road where the man was found was under six inches of water due to heavy rains.
His wheelchair was not far from where the victim was found, according to sheriff’s office spokesman Dave Bristow.
Angela Spencer, who lives on that block, described the water levels, particularly in the middle of the roadway, as deeper than six inches.
"Out here in the middle of the road it was about waist deep," said Spencer. "We had a car that was over almost on its side here."
That's why Spencer said she kept checking if the flood waters were creeping into her home that night. She stepped outside to look for flooding and discovered the man's body, instead.
"I looked harder and I thought, 'No, that’s not a garbage can,' so I came about halfway down the drive and I saw it was a wheelchair overturned and I saw what looked like a pant leg," said Spencer.
Spencer, a 20-year medical assistant, called 911, then tried to help the man.
"I kept telling him, ‘You’re not gonna do this, you’re not gonna die on me!’ but it was already too late," Spencer said.
Deputies and paramedics tried to revive the man but were unable to, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.
There were no signs of foul play, according to the sheriff’s office. His identity has not yet been released as investigators work to notify his next of kin.
It is believed the victim either had a medical episode or drowned, Bristow said, but the Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the cause of death following an autopsy.
Bay News 9 contributed to this story.