Burlington man charged after his SUV was found in a nearby pond

BURLINGTON, N.C. — A bizarre incident in Burlington will cost the police department thousands of dollars.

"It looks like they went through the fence and the car is submerged in the water," says an unknown caller to 911.

The top of a silver SUV, peaking over the edge of a retention pond on Kirkwood Drive, caused panic Thursday morning.

"I don't know if anyone is in the car and I don't know if anyone has reported it or not," said the caller.

Burlington police and fire crews rushed to the scene.

"All efforts had to be exhausted," says Scott Elliott, Master Police Officer.

Officers jumped into the possibly contaminated water to try to rescue whoever might be inside of the car.

"Rescue efforts were immediately conducted," he explains. "Three officers went in with their equipment on and their uniform on."

A firefighter suffered minor injuries from broken glass while searching for a possible victim. That was one of the many costs.

"Several items of our issued equipment was damaged beyond repair," said Elliott. "Ballist vets, batons and I think some other trinkets like full uniforms. We don't know if it's contaminated water, so stuff like that needs to be replaced."

$3,000 worth of police gear now waterlogged and unusable. There's $2,500 worth of damage to the fence. And no one was even inside of the totaled car.

Police say the driver, Daniel Browning, was later found at his home, uninjured.

FOX8 is told that after he crashed through the fence and landed in the water, he got out and walked half a mile to his house, leaving the car in the water for about 12 hours. Police say all of this could have been avoided.

"A simple phone call and we could have towed you out and completed the investigation without getting all of these measures involved," Elliott says. "We did exhaust a lot of efforts and resources on this."

Police tell FOX8 they do not believe the driver was impaired in anyway, but say speed was a factor.

Browning is now facing a hit and run charge.

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