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2017-08-09 / Front Page

Man drowns after car plunges into Inland Lake

by Ron Gholson


Tracks are visible in foreground where van travelled in high-speed dash to plunge into Inland Lake. The driver did not survive. Tracks are visible in foreground where van travelled in high-speed dash to plunge into Inland Lake. The driver did not survive. Michael David Clem Jr. , 41, of Oneonta, drowned Sunday about 10:30 a.m. after his van plunged into Inland Lake.

A security officer and bystanders present at the time immediately jumped into the 10- to 12- foot-deep water to rescue Clem, who had thrown a notebook out the window of the van just before he drove into the lake, according to Blount County Sheriff’s Department Operations Officer Tim Kent.

The windows were rolled up and the doors were locked when rescuers reached the vehicle. Kent said the van was still partially floating at the time, but sank below the surface quickly.

The van was recovered later that afternoon by members of the Trussville Swift Water Rescue Team. Fire and rescue departments from Allgood, Oneonta, and Blount County Rescue also responded.

The incident occurred at the site of the boat launch on the Allgood side of the lake. Kent said the notebook contained a written message relating to the incident.

“It’s a tragic thing, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family,” Kent said.

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