Officials recover a car out of Lake Texoma; why swimmers should - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Officials recover a car out of Lake Texoma; why swimmers should be cautious

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BRYAN COUNTY, OK -- What lurks beneath? It’s a question that runs through the minds of many swimming in area lakes. But what one Texoma family found under the water was one of the last things they expected.

OHP Lake Patrol recovered a car out of Lake Texoma Monday morning, but they say this incident isn’t as rare as you’d think. Now they're warning the community to be careful because they say more are expected to pop up this summer.

"If you're not in a place where you're usually swimming, there could be barrels," said Trooper Greg Williams. "People dump all kinds of crazy stuff, refrigerators and washing machines. And cars are the biggest problem."

OHP Lake Patrol received a call last week from a man who had seen the car while he was out swimming with his family.

"We went out to the area,” said Trooper Williams, “which is called the North Dike, right of the river near State Highway 199 in Bryan County."

Trooper Williams says the car had been in the water for ten years before popping up and usually cars are found near bluffs and boat ramps. With this year's lower water levels, he warns swimmers to be on the lookout for more.

"When the water starts coming down, it’s some of the water that normally you're not in,” he said, “when the water's up, people are wading and fishing around it."

Once a vehicle is recovered from the lake, he says it's turned over to the insurance company. But it hasn't always been an easy task. Local insurance agents say with the new "Texas Sure" program, officials can now pull from the car's tag which agency to call for a claim.

"Before Texas Sure that would have been a difficult connection to make,” said Stacy Rake, with Nationwide Insurance in Sherman, “who the insurance is on an abandoned vehicle in the middle of a lake."

Rake says in most cases the vehicle has been reported stolen and by the time it's found, the policy holder has already been paid by the insurance company.

"Now there's the possibly that it's been abandoned in the lake,” she said, “or there's been foul play or intentional act. And of course intentional acts aren't covered under the insurance policy. So that would go to a special investigations unit and most insurance companies do have a special investigations unit.”

Parents should be cautious when smaller children are swimming on the lake. Insurance agents say car owners should be cautious as well, no matter where you’re parked always keep it locked. Troopers say if you find a car, or other item submerged in the lake, report it to OHP, the county sheriff’s office or local police.