Iraq war veteran dies after driving car into retention pond

Emergency crews waiting on the banks as dive teams search for victim
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Kris Kirschner/Eyewitness News

Greenwood - A military veteran stationed at Camp Atterbury was killed when he drove his car into a Greenwood retention pond. It happened near Allen and Graham Roads on the city's southeast side.

SFC Herkimiah Wimbush, 36, served in Iraq, but it was an accident on a seemingly safe Greenwood road that claimed his life.

"We don't have any idea why he left the roadway into the water," said Tom Kite, Greenwood Fire Department.

Investigators say Wimbush was headed west at around 6:00 am when he failed to stop at the intersection. His car instead drove straight into a retention pond. Wimbush himself called 911.

Ten minutes later Greenwood Fire Department divers pulled him out of the frigid water, his Dodge Charger sinking about 12 feet.

"The windows were intact. The first diver broke the back window to get the diver out," said Kite.

The damage to the front of the car was caused by the impact. Now police are trying to figure out why he failed to stop.

"It's happened before and that's how they always go in," said Jessica Messer, a neighbor.

Jessica and Shelby Messer live right across the street. They say accidents like this happen often, and it's been a topic of discussion in their house.

"My dad says it's because they can see the lights past the interstate and just don't pay attention," said Shelby Messer.

At the other end of the same street, where it's into a field, there is a sign. Some wonder why there isn't one at the scene where the accident took place.

"Just even a guardrail would be plenty," said Jessica Messer.

A guardrail and a chain link fence surround nearby retention ponds. Some believe it may have prevented what happened here Tuesday morning.

Wimbush was stationed at Camp Atterbury. He was a member of the 1/290th Infantry Battalion under the 205th Infantry Brigade. Members of his unit were at the crash site doing their own investigation Tuesday.

Police say there was no indication Wimbush was impaired in any way before the crash.