Riverbank man dead after car crashes into canal

A Riverbank man was found dead after his car went into a canal near Hughson sometime before 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.

A passing motorist saw a portion of a ladder and ladder rack breaching the water in the canal west of Geer Road and south of Hatch Road.

California Highway Patrol Officer Chuck Leon said it did not appear the accident happened at or close to the time the bystander called police at 7:30 a.m. because there was no fresh water splashed on the canal bank.

Officers found skid marks indicating that Orval Caudill, 60, was traveling south on Geer Road when he veered to the west, drove up onto the sidewalk and then into the canal. His red pickup hit a small fence and post at the edge of the bridge abutment and dragged the post and part of the fence into the canal, Leon said.

A tow truck removed the pickup about 9:15 a.m., at which point Caudill’s body was discovered inside the cab. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Leon said the CHP is trying to determine how long Caudill had been in the canal. He hadn’t been reported missing; officers are looking for anyone with information on his whereabouts prior to crash, or witnesses to it.