UPDATE: “Talk to you later, that was it,” said Emmanuel Tucker.
Those are the last words Emmanuel Tucker said to his dad. Last Friday, around noon someone spotted this black Nissan Maxima in a ditch off Moore Road. Police say they searched like they would in any abandoned car or crash scene. Officers assumed the driver left, something not uncommon.
They would later learn it was 58-year-old, Lonnie Tucker who was driving.
Chattanooga Police believe Tucker got out of the car and crossed four lanes of highway and died in a wooded area beside the road.
It was Tucker's widow and sister who decided to walk the scene the next day and found their loved one.
“We found his body a few steps off of the curve,” said Tucker. Police say Tucker's body was 80 to 100 feet from the car and on the opposite side of the road. Not a place they searched on Friday.
Still, his grieving son wishes the search was more thorough.
“I think more could have been done, but I do think if it's anybody else’s loved one, you are going to search,” said Tucker. CPD says their officers followed protocol.
“You contact the registered owner of the vehicle, you do what is asked of you by that owner,” said Mark Frazier, PIO, Chattanooga Police Department.
Chattanooga Police say the owner of the car they found on record was Tucker's mother. They say she authorized them to owe it. Tucker’s son Emmanuel says his father is on the car.
CPD tells Channel 3 they have responded to 785 abandoned auto calls this year.
Count on Channel 3 to keep you updated on this continuing story.
PREVIOUS STORY: Nearly 24 hours after Chattanooga police officers had a wrecked car towed from the ditch on North Moore Road, they were called back to the same scene. This time it was for the driver's body, not seen the day before.
Someone flagged a CPD officer on Friday around 12:00 p.m. to report a car wreck. The officer thought the driver had left the scene so the owner of the car was called. The owner gave police permission to tow the car, according to a news release to Channel 3 Eyewitness News.
Then around 10:20 a.m. Saturday, dispatchers sent police officers back to the same area. This time someone reported seeing a body approximately 30-40 feet into the woods on the other side of the 4-lane road.
It was 58-year-old Lonnie Tucker. Tucker's mother owns the car. Tucker was the person driving the car on Friday. Police say they believe Tucker made it out of the car and then passed away in the woods. Officers did not notice Tucker in their search on Friday. The medical examiner believes the death is related to the accident.
Investigators are not certain what time the car wrecked into the ditch.
Chattanooga Police ask anyone with information regarding this incident to call 423-698-2525.