Crash renews retention pond safety concern

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An early morning crash left a car submerged in a Carmel retention pond, emergency crews searching for the driver, and neighbors concerned about safety. It's a scary accident that drums up even scarier memories of a similar crash that left four dead.

"We saw the tire tracks that went through the roundabout and knocked over a sign," said Liz Hagerman, a Carmel resident. "And as we came around the roundabout on the turn, we saw the tire tracks across the sidewalk and then down into the pond," said Liz Hagerman, a Carmel resident

And what Liz Hagerman and Kim Koepfer saw next caused them to spring into action.

"So, we looked over and I saw the top of the car in the pond. Kim called Onstar and we went down to the water's edge and wandered in just a little bit and yelled and tried to see if we could see anybody," said Liz.

Carmel police and rescue teams from the fire department responded and pulled a badly banged-up gray Honda from the water at the corner of Towne Road and 131st St.

"Actually, when the pulled the car out of the pond, the driver's side door was open," said Kim Koepfer, a Carmel resident.

But, no one was inside. The Fishers dive team searched the pond and crews launched sonar equipment, scouring the water for signs of someone or something. They found nothing.

"Our main concern right now is making sure whoever was in the vehicle is okay and if they need any medical assistance," said Lt. Jeff Horner, Carmel Police Department.

"What's it going to take to make these retention ponds safer," asked Jason Black, a Carmel resident.

Jason Black is referring to a similar type of crash five years ago one icy December night only about a mile north of here. The minivan of Batul Abbas and her three daughters slid off the road into a retention pond. All four died.

"It's always been the concern, especially during the winter months, of cars sliding off road and how dangerous the ponds are. I think local government should look into retaining walls or some sort of barrier to keep this from happening," said Black.

Neighbors say drivers treat these roads like a race track. Then, when they encounter the roundabout, it's difficult for them to slow down and maintain control.

"With all these subdivisions going up in the area, more retention ponds will be made and it will continue to be a problem," said Black.

Police searched the area and found the driver of the vehcile, 19-year-old Andrew D. Song, and passenger 19-year-old Samuel P. Victor in residences nearby. 

Song had no injuries and was taken to the Hamilton County Jail. He is being held on a $2,500 bond for leaving the scene of a property damage accident. Victor was found with a minor scrape on his left palm.

While police won't say whether they consider retention pond crashes to be a big problem for them, neighbors say it's happened enough to warrant a serious discussion in the Carmel area.