By Jeff Gallatin
City police are continuing to investigate why a a vehicle apparently driven by a 74-year-old Bay Village man reported missing late Saturday went off a cliff area and ended up in Lake Erie – killing him and requiring a rescue operation Sunday.
Detective Lt. Mark Spaetzel of the Bay Village Police Department said Andrejs Kisis was reported missing at 11:53 p.m. Saturday night. The next morning, Bay 911 services got a call around 8:30 a.m. from a man who was out walking his dog and saw a car overturned in Lake Erie located near the Bay Village Boat Club.
“Right now, we’re still investigating why he would have been out there near the lake,” Spaetzel said Monday. “We don’t believe there was anything criminal involved with it, but we can’t determine at this point if it was accidental or suicide. We’ll know more after we get reports back from the medical examiner’s office.”
Spaetzel said police don’t know if the man was impaired by drugs or alcohol, noting toxicology reports from the office could take several weeks before police get the results.
“There could be something medical that could have happened or there could be other reasons. That’s why we’d like to see the test results,” Spaetzel said.
He said the vehicle was able to go on a public roadway that goes off Lake Road before going to an area leading to the boat club and the area where it can take its boats into the water.
“That part of the paved road, which is right above the lake before you get to the boat club, is public, and anybody can access it,” Spaetzel said. “The vehicle went into the water from there, apparently.”
Bay Village fire Chief Chris Lyons said after city safety forces were notified, his department put men into cold-water gear to begin possible rescue operations.
“First, we determine if there is the possibility of survivors,” Lyons said. “In this case, once it was determined that there was not a survivor, we go into a different mode to get the vehicle out of the water.”
Lyons said those operations were hampered by wet sand and the lack of solid ground near where the upside-down car was in the water. He said the fire and police departments called on the city service department and Patton’s Towing for assistance in getting the vehicle out of the water.
“The smaller tow truck from Patton’s got stuck in the sand and couldn’t pull it out from there, so we got a bigger tow truck from Patton’s to help get it out,” he said.
He said the service department provided manpower and an end-loader to help get the car. Once it was out, he said, the fire department still had to use extrication equipment to get the man’s body out of the vehicle.
“It was all smashed up, so we needed the equipment to get the top of the vehicle off and get the body out,” Lyons said.