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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A 70-year-old man lost his life after his car plunged into a drainage canal next to Miami International Airport.

Now Miami-Dade Police traffic homicide detectives are trying to determine how and when it happened.

It happened just east of Northwest 72nd Avenue on Northwest 12th Street or Perimeter Road.

Richard Garcia told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that he was cutting grass for his company – Ginley Lawn Service and Landscaping – when he noticed the car in the water.

“I saw the car in the water,” Garcia told D’Oench. “I didn’t see nothing. I saw the bumper and the trunk. We saw the water. Um, we say, just call the boss and the boss called police.”

Miami-Dade Police detective and spokeswoman Robin Pinkard said it was 9:20 on Monday morning when the call was received.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue divers dove into the canal and discovered the man’s body before the grey Honda was hoisted out of the water. Traffic homicide investigators carefully took measurements and looked for clues.

“According to investigators the body was not in there for that long,” said Pinkard. “It is a white male, 70 years old in the vehicle.”

Pinkard said the car apparently hit and jumped over a curb and drove across a long stretch of grass before plunging into the canal.

“It’s too soon to determine the cause, why he left the roadway and ended up in the embankment,” said Pinkard. “At this point we are treating this as a traffic fatality. There is no evidence to suggest that anything suspicious took place.”

The accident happened in a busy area. Pinkard said so far, no witnesses have come forward. Police need help from the public.

“If anybody traveling eastbound or westbound at that time of the morning has seen anything, we encourage them to come forward  and speak to us,” said Pinkard.

Detectives have been able to identify the driver but will not release his name until they reach his closest relatives.

Pinkard was asked if the victim could have had a heart attack. She said she was not sure.

She said police are waiting for the results of an autopsy by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.


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