LAKE PARK -- A 27-year-old Echols County man was found dead Tuesday at the bottom of an irrigation pond a few hundred yards from his residence.

Victorriano Vincente Arreaga Velasquez drowned after he tried to escape from the Ford Aerostar van he had accidentally driven into the pond.

Echols County Sheriff Randy Courson said he responded to the scene along Rader Road. The property owners called in the report after two boys on their way to school saw the top of the van in the water.

Courson said authorities believe Velasquez may have been drinking and overshot his driveway.

Velasquez' jacket and shoes were on top of the van.

"It let us know he had actually made it out of the van, Courson said."

At that point, Courson said he contacted Velasquez's employer and father-in-law, James Carter, who informed authorities his son-in-law hadn't made it to work.

An investigator came in with an underwater camera and located Velasquez.

Courson said Velasquez was probably going to try to jump from the van to land because his pant legs were rolled up.

The fact that he couldn't swim, Courson said, combined with the temperatures played a part in his death.

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