Westerly and Stonington Police continue to keep an eye out for a car that crashed into the Pawcatuck River behind the Malted Barley early Tuesday and was seen floating past the Bridge Restaurant soon after the incident.
Searching for the car, the Connecticut State Police used sonar to scan approximately 1.6 miles of river Thursday from south of the Route 1 bridge, where the Bridge Restaurant is located, to about halfway between Duck Island and Gayitt Point.
The search is continuing on a less formal basis, Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said by phone on Friday.
“We know it’s past the Bridge Restaurant because we learned of a video two days ago where you saw the roof the car going by the Bridge Restaurant the night of the incident," he said. "That's good because it’s not between the buildings downtown where we would have no idea how to get it out or where it would be a challenge to get it out."
The car’s driver, Andreas Berry Barbero, 23, of Providence, drove the vehicle, a gray 2007 Saab sedan, off Coggswell Street into the Pawcatuck River just after 12:15 a.m. Tuesday. After hearing the crash, Kyle Driscoll, a bartender at the Malted Barley, saved Barbero by jumping into the cold, rushing water.
Lacey said his department first expected the car to be found at the Westerly Boat Ramp at 99 Main St., which is about a tenth of a mile downstream from the Bridge Restaurant.
“We checked all that yesterday and obtained no results,” he said.
He said he knew the state police had checked as far as the Viking Marina, at 19 Margin St., in Westerly, about 0.7 mile downstream from the restaurant.
“The only update I have is, last I knew, they went all the way down to Viking Marina and they did not come up with anything,” he said. “I’d be surprised if it’s past Viking Marina because the vehicle is big and there are things on the bottom of the river to get hung up on.”
The river is high because the region has received substantial rain, and when the water level recedes, the car might appear, the chief said.
“If it were something floating, it will float all the way down until it gets hung up on something. It will usually drift to the side and when the river drops you’ll see a rooftop under the water or something,” Lacey said.
Without sonar, few other technology options exist to aid the search, Stonington Police Capt. Todd Olson said Friday.
“As of right now there really are not too many other options,” he said. “The search is still up in the air.”