A Bridgeport man was found dead Friday afternoon inside a pickup near the Lake Bridgeport spillway.
Stephen Doyle Ince, 22, was reported missing by his family Wednesday night, and when family members set out to look for him Friday morning, they discovered his truck underneath the bridge on Farm Road 1658, about 100 feet below the roadway.
Department of Public Safety Trooper Patrick Alonzo said it’s unknown how long the pickup was in the ravine.
“[Family members] were driving along the road and noticed the fence was down [on the south side of the spillway],” he said. “They looked over the bridge and saw the truck, then called 911.”
Although the wreck is still under investigation, it’s believed Ince was eastbound on FM 1658 when he rounded a curve, drove off the roadway, down the embankment and launched into the air before landing in the bottom of the spillway.
Alonzo said the trail of debris indicates the pickup landed upside down but then flipped upright.
Ince was pronounced dead at the scene by Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Jan Morrow.
Units from Lake Bridgeport and Bridgeport fire departments, as well as Wise County medics, sheriff’s deputies, state troopers and personnel from Chico Auto Parts worked for more than two hours to hoist the truck back up to the roadway.
Ince was an auto detailer at Lone Star Super Wash in Decatur.
His manager and friend, Robert Thomasson, described Ince as a great, quiet worker.
“He always did what we asked him to do,” Thomasson said. “He was quiet, but he made everybody laugh. He always had a smile on his face. We’re going to miss that.”
The Bridgeport Correctional Center is hosting a silent auction to help pay for Ince’s funeral expenses.
Several officers have donated three hours of their time to perform minor home improvements or yard work, which will be awarded to the highest bidder. All assigned tasks must be within reason.
The list of participating officers has not yet been finalized, but for information or to place bids, call the center at 940-683-3010.
The auction will close July 15, and winning bidders will be notified July 16.
Stephen’s mother, Sheila Ince, is a nurse at the correctional center.