Drowning, hypothermia killed man who drove truck off bridge

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Authorities say a tractor-trailer driver who initially survived after plunging off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel last week succumbed to hypothermia and drowned.

Donna Price is district administrator for Virginia's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. She says the death has been ruled accidental.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recorded a water temperature of about 45 degrees when Joseph Chen went off the bridge Thursday while driving in high winds.

Authorities said the 47-year-old from Greenville, North Carolina, was first seen standing on the floating truck. But a Navy helicopter later found him in the water and unresponsive. He died before reaching the hospital.

Bridge official Thomas Anderson said driver error likely caused the accident. He said Chen was seen weaving through traffic before driving off the span's left side.

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This story has been corrected to show the water temperature information was provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, not the Chief Medical Examiner's Office.