Coroner identifies man in car that fell off bridge

Raw footage: Crane lifts car from Ohio River
David Bouma (Facebook/Cardinal Solutions Group.)
David Bouma (Facebook/Cardinal Solutions Group.)
Crane lifts car from the river (Photo: Patrick Reddy)
Crane lifts car from the river (Photo: Patrick Reddy)
Photo: Patrick Reddy
Photo: Patrick Reddy

CAMPBELL COUNTY, KY (FOX19) - The identity and cause of death were released Sunday after crews recovered a body from a car that plunged off the Combs-Hehl Bridge and into the Ohio River.

The Campbell County Coroner identified the man inside the car as David James Bouma, 32, of Milford. The cause of death is reportedly massive head trauma.

Bouma, originally from Michigan, will be memorialized in his hometown of Jenison Thursday. He had worked at Cardinal Solutions group on Montgomery Road for the past five years, according to a Facebook post from the company.

"Cardinal folks who had an opportunity to work with David described him as "an invaluable asset to the team," "he amazes people with his work," "a Rock Star," "brilliant," "unbelievable work ethic," "a hero who is always willing to help," and of course "friend,"" the Facebook post read in-part.

Bouma was driving on the Interstate 275 bridge on March 15 during a 12-vehicle crash. Recovery of the red Pontiac Grand Prix and body inside was delayed for more than a week due to dangerous river conditions.

Around 7 a.m. Saturday, a towboat pushed a barge loaded with a crane to the area beneath the Combs-Hehl Bridge.  Visibility in the water was only about one foot for the single diver who secured cables to the car.

After about five hours, the crane lifted the red vehicle from the river.

Capt. Dale Appel, director of the Boone County Water Rescue Team, said the car was surrounded by debris and is 90 percent full of clay and sand.

"We were unable to get any doors open or anything moved inside or around the car so it was determined the best event was to pull the whole car out at once," said Don Wilkins, project manager for Marine Solutions - the company working with the county water rescue team.

The vehicle had a Milford, Ohio license plate. Bouma's family had contacted police about the missing man prior to the recovery of the vehicle.

Police have not commented on whether other passengers could have been inside the car.

[Raw footage: Crane lifts car from Ohio River]

On Thursday, FOX19 NOW obtained surveillance video from a camera attached to a nearby pier that caught the car falling from the bridge.

"When that car hit the water from that height going at that speed, it really was the same as hitting a wall," said John Hoh who is a diving instructor with Aquatic Dreams Diving in Northern Kentucky.

[Photo gallery: Car lifted from Ohio River]

A neighbor of Bouma's described him as a very nice man and a good neighbor.

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