Wayne and Dianne Guay, whose bodies and car were found on Monday after being missing for days during what should have been a half-day trip from South Carolina to Queens, died from drowning. The determination of death now raises questions about how authorities handled reacting to a 911 call from a motorist who noticed a car accident off a North Carolina stretch of 1-95 last Thursday. Authorities say that the caller misidentified where the accident occurred by a mile or two, so when the firefighters and EMS went to the scene, they didn't see anything and left after looking for 22 minutes.
An emergency services director, Brian Brantley, said, "We're certainly sorry this happened," and admitted that the 911 caller should have been called back for more information. While it's unclear if the Guays could have been saved (the North Carolina Highway Patrol said the Guays' car could have submerged in minutes), their relatives were upset, especially since they had made public appeals for information and help - and that it took many days to find the car. From the Daily News:
"We really did everything we could," said Horry County, S.C., Deputy Police Chief David Beaty, adding that his agency first alerted cops in the region late Thursday.
Beaty wouldn't say why it took several days for his agency to ask the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to use a helicopter as part of the search.
"I'm not going to get into it with the family," he said. "What purpose would that serve?"
The Guays had lived in the city but moved to South Carolina after retiring from city agencies; their children still live in Queens.