MANTEO, N.C. (WAVY) — The body of a man whose box truck went off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in December was found Friday morning on the beach at Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
Doug Marshall, a spokesperson for the family, confirmed Erik Mezick’s body was found at Cape Hatteras.
The National Park Service says the body was found between the villages of Salvo and Avon by a local resident around 9:15 a.m., though they did not identify him yet in a press release.
No additional details were available, but Marshall says they will share more information when it’s available.
“We said he would present himself when he was ready and in true Eric style he did just that today on his favorite beach!,” read a post on the Finding Erik Mezick Facebook page.
The search for Mezick’s body concluded in late December, days after he crashed. His family said he traveled over the bridge-tunnel about twice a week from Fruitland, Maryland, driving for Cloverland Greenspring Dairy. They said he was an “amazing father, husband, son and person.”
“He was a great guy, always nice to people, always smiling,” said Mike Malone, a friend of Erik Mezick. “He would help you anytime if you needed help. Just a great person, and if there was a person that could still be alive and make it out alive it is Erik. He is a fighter and he would swim to the end of the earth to be back with his family.”
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel police are still investigating the crash, but it appears the crash was likely due to the wind that day. Another truck driver who was just behind Mezick that day said he and Mezick shouldn’t have been allowed to make the trek across the 17.6-mile bridge-tunnel system.
“The wind took control of me and blew me, I was so nervous. I couldn’t look at the water, I was looking straight ahead,” said Derek Amos. “I’m going through nightmares at night because God spared me it could have been me, but I think the only reason I didn’t blow in the water is because I had weight on my truck,” Amos said.
Other crashes have happened on the bridge-tunnel in the past, including one in which a tractor-trailer driver died of hypothermia after his truck went off the bridge.
His wife sued for $6 million, alleging the bridge-tunnel violated its wind policy by allowing Joseph Chen to cross in his truck with wind gusts clocked as high as 50 mph at the time.
However it was revealed at the trial that the CBBT uses average wind speeds, not gusts, when they decide to implement restrictions, the Virginian-Pilot reported. The judge concluded the wind was the main factor in the crash, but ruled the bridge-tunnel, which is an entity of the commonwealth, is protected by sovereign immunity.