Out of State Resident on Business Drowns in Richland Marina
A man found dead in Richland's Columbia Point Marina Park Wednesday morning is believed to be an accidental drowning victim.
A fisherman notified police when he observed the headlights of a vehicle that was submerged in the Columbia River off the marina shoreline.
"Fisherman had left the dock at around 10pm and returned. Just shy of midnight, as he rolled back into the dock, he noticed the headlights under the water and called 911." Benton County Coroner Bill Leach said.
Leach believes the man from Colorado was unfamiliar with the Tri-Cities area and drove down the marina ramp into the water. He may have panicked when the car began to sink.
"People will ask why didn't you just open the door and get out? Well, in a panic situation, I would assume that he was in a bad situation realizing you're now in the water, not familiar with the car, the first time you've driven that particular car because he just picked it up that day. It would be highly likely he couldn't get the doors open just out of not knowing how to in that situation." Leach said.
Leach identified the man as 55-year-old William Badger. He was in the Tri-Cities on business.
"He was staying in a hotel nearby there and being unfamiliar in a dark area, driving into the parking lot. We're assuming at this point that he just inadvertently drove down the ramp. There was no damage to the vehicle. There was nobody else in the car. He had no injuries to him." Leach added.
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