BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. -- Barboursville police have released more details about a Tyler County man's death whose body was recovered last week from the Guyandotte River.
Barboursville police said Mitchell Higgins, 22, of Sistersville is the man who crashed his car on Interstate 64 early Feb. 4 before falling between 80 and 100 feet from the highest point of the quarter mile long bridge spanning the Guyandotte River in Barboursville in Cabell County.
Police Chief Mike Coffey said the accident happened around 4 a.m. when Higgins lost control on the bridge at the 17 mile-marker of I-64 westbound. His vehicle, a Ford Fusion sedan, struck the right barrier then left barriers before stopping at the middle of the bridge, according to a truck driver behind the wreck who provided eyewitness reports and dash cam footage to police.
Investigators said Higgins may have been disoriented after the crash.
Higgins exited the vehicle appearing "dazed and confused" following the wreck before he fell over a 32-inch right barrier, Coffey said. Dash cam footage shows at least two other cars passed the wreck as Higgins crossed the lane, but it's unclear, even with video footage, if he fell attempting to dodge oncoming traffic or was simply trying to leave the roadway, Coffey said.
Police said Higgins may not have realized how steep the bank was in that area and it's unknown if he fell into the river or on land.
Emergency personnel began searching for Higgins soon after the wreck.
A man walking his dog discovered Higgins' body around 1:30 p.m. Feb. 7 in the river more than a mile downstream from the bridge where he fell.
Barboursville Fire Department and Cabell County EMS put personnel into the water so as to recover Higgins' body, police said.
According to Marshall University, Higgins was a senior majoring in history.
Higgins graduated from Tyler Consolidated High School in 2013. He was a member of the Silver Knights' golf and soccer teams.
He was born September 6, 1994, in Parkersburg, a son of Richard "Rick" Higgins Jr. and Stephanie Steward Higgins.