MIDDLETOWN, Del. (CBS) — The parents of the two brothers who died after an SUV plunged into a canal in Delaware on Sunday are devastated about the loss of their two boys and their nephew. They’re also praying that their third son’s body is recovered soon so they can properly plan the funeral.
Instead of Willis and Brandi Lindsey planning their three sons’ futures, the parents are now planning their sons’ funerals. They’re still trying to come to terms with how their big family of seven is suddenly without three of their sons after a deadly crash Sunday morning.
Five people were inside a grey SUV that veered off a narrow gravel road by the Chesapeake and Delaware canal and plunged into the water near Middletown around 9:40 a.m. Sunday.
Crews pulled the SUV out of the water on Sunday night.
“The vehicle was located, that’s the starting point,” Delaware State Police Master Cpl. Michael Austin said.
Eighteen-year-old Willis Lindsey and 16-year-old Kyree Lindsey are dead while 6-year-old Ethan Lindsey is presumed to have drowned. Ethan remains unaccounted for as Delaware State Police are using underway sonar to look for his body.
“It brought me to tears to leave him there,” Brandi Lindsey said. “We don’t want to wait three days to find our baby.”
The boys’ 12-year-old cousin Eric Lindsey also died in the crash.
The only survivor was a 16-year-old girl, who was Willis’ girlfriend.
She told Delaware State Police that Willis helped her to shore, then went back underwater to rescue his little brothers and cousin.
“I wouldn’t have expected him to do anything different. Knowing him, I couldn’t see him doing nothing different. He did what he was supposed to do as a big brother,” Willis’ father said.
But it was his final act of heroism. He never resurfaced.
“We would love to hold him and have him in our arms, but we do understand why he chose to go back,” Brandi Lindsey said. “If it was on our foot, we would do the same. He said he couldn’t live without them so he went back. He’s a big brother and those were his smaller brothers and his cousin.
“Even though he gave them a hard time, he loved them dearly. I just picture if it was me and I was in that place, I probably would have done the same thing. I know why he did it. I would have loved for him to stay out, but I understand.
“Pray for your kids, love them, tell them that you love them, tell them that you miss them because tomorrow’s not promised.”
Crews are searching for Ethan by boat, by land and by using special underwater equipment.
The search won’t stop until he’s found.
“They are searching up and down the canal banks, again utilizing the cadaver dogs, utilizing just a visual search from units that are on the boat as well as the sidescan sonar,” Austin said.
Police have suspended the search for the rest of Monday, but are expected to return to the canal to continue the search Tuesday morning.