VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - 47-year-old Erik Mezick was a wonderful husband, father, and friend.
Mezick left his home in Fruitland, Maryland on Monday around 10 p.m., according to his wife of 25 years, Megan.
He hopped in his Cloverland Greenspring Dairy box truck, ready to deliver dairy products to Cape Charles and Virginia Beach. It was a 130-mile trip, a job he had only had since March.
On his way back north, the family's world was turned upside down in seconds. Mezick driving northbound around 8:20 a.m., Tuesday, went over the guard rail on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, plunging into the bay near Mile Marker 14.
The U.S. Coast Guard said witnesses told them, Mezick, starting drifting westward after climbing or falling out of the cab, into the frigid 45-degree bay.
Virginia Beach Fire, Virginia Beach Police, and Virginia Beach EMS started working together with the US Coast Guard and Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Authority searching for Mezick in the water.
The air and bay search lasted hours for the man who loved scooters, swimming, collectibles, and caring for his 94-year-old grandmother.
By dusk, the search was suspended for Mezick after an intense 178-mile scan of the bay by a myriad of authorities. Erik leaves behind his beloved wife, and two children, 18-year-old Dylan and 16-year-old Hannah.
"I can't say anything more than he was just such an amazing man father, husband, friend. Anyone who met him loved him from the start, he left an impression on so many” Erik's wife Meghan told WTKR Wednesday.
CBBT police are still investigating the incident. Crofton Diving out of Portsmouth is working to try to recover the truck Erik was driving from the bay.
“The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the CBBT are with the family and loved ones of Mr. Mezick during this difficult time,” said Jeff Holland, Executive Director of the CBBT.
"We would like to extend our condolences to the family and friends of this individual during this time of tragedy,” said Capt. Samson Stevens, commander of Coast Guard Sector Virginia. “We would like to thank the local first responder agencies for their partnership and dedication in coordinating efforts and searching throughout the day with our crews.”
This story was first published by Chelsea Donovan at WTKR in Norfolk, Virginia.