On Friday, March 9, at approximately 4 p.m., Mono County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch received a report of a vehicle that had been driven into the water from the shoreline at Topaz Lake around Highpoint Curve on U.S. 395. Topaz Lake is located at the border of California and Nevada.
Mono County Sheriff’s Deputies, Antelope Valley Fire Department, Mono County Paramedics, California Highway Patrol, and Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputies and Dive Team were dispatched to the scene.
It was reported that several friends were fishing on the shoreline of Topaz Lake when apparently one of the friends got into his vehicle attempting to start the engine. Friends heard a splash and saw the vehicle in the water, floating away from the shore before it completely sank. The driver, identified as Francis McConnell, age 74, of Topaz, was found by Douglas County Dive Team with the assistance of Mono County Paramedics unrestrained, lifeless and deceased. McConnell was brought to the surface and transported via boat to the shore. As of Friday, efforts were under way to retrieve the vehicle from the lake.
California Highway Patrol is the lead agency into the investigation of what caused the accident. Final cause of death of Mr. McConnell will be determined by the Mono County Sheriff’s Office upon completion of autopsy and toxicology results. –MCSD Press Release