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CINCINNATI – A police report, released Monday, describes what David Bouma was doing in the moments before his car plunged into the Ohio River, his family's concerns about him and police efforts to find him - including officers climbing through an open window where he lived.
READ the details below.
Bouma's family in Michigan, where he was raised, and his co-workers at Cardinal Solutions Group in Cincinnati, where he was a software applications developer, made their first public comments Monday, mourning and praising the 32-year-old. Officials identified Bouma on Sunday as the driver whose car plunged off the Combs-Hehl Bridge on March 15. His body and red Pontiac Grand Prix were recovered Saturday.
Bouma's family said he had lived in Milford, Ohio, for more than six years "and over that time made many friends in the area and created his home here."
"The heartache is unimaginable and devastating," they said in a statement. "We are forever grateful to the various police departments and recovery teams involved in this entire process for their support, concern, and diligence since day one."
Bouma grew up in Jenison, Michigan, where his parents still live. Services will be held there.
Bouma's co-workers describe him as "an invaluable asset to the team," "brilliant" and "a hero who is always willing to help." Cardinal Solutions posted a statement on its Facebook page.
Here are details from the Milford police report:
> Bouma apparently was driving home from work when his car went off the bridge during a series of chain-reaction crashes. Bouma, who had worked for Cardinal Solutions for almost five years, clocked out at 4 p.m. that day from General Cable in Highland Heights, Kentucky. His last cell phone activity was at 4:27 near the bridge, according to the Hamilton County Communications Center. The accidents happened just before 4:30 p.m. Later, HCCC pinged his phone and it was not active.
> Two days after the crashes on the bridge, Bouma's mother called Milford police and asked them to make a welfare check at his residence. She said his company called and he had not reported for work.
> Milford Sgt. Mark Kibby went to Bouma's residence and spoke to neighbors. They said they only saw him occasionally because he was quiet and kept to himself. Another officer arrived and located an open window. Kibby got permission from the chief for a warrantless entry. Once inside, he opened the door for two other officers. All they found was Bouma's insurance card.
> Milford police then notified Highland Heights and Campbell County police that Bouma was missing. The agencies agreed that Campbell County would be the contact with Bouma's mother. Chief Craig Sorrell kept in close contact with her, the report says.
> After the recovery operation Saturday, Bouma's father called Kibby and said his son had been found dead in the car. He asked Kibby for help getting into his son's residence. Kibby and another officer climbed through the same window and found a key, and they turned it over to Bouma's parents. They also offered to help the family in any way they could.
> After Sunday's autopsy, Kibby and the Campbell County coroner, Dr. Mark Schweitzer, went to Bouma's residence and delivered his wallet to his parents. Schweitzer explained the process for claiming his body.
Bouma died from head trauma in the crash, Schweitzer said Sunday following the autopsy by the state coroner.
Police are still investigating why Bouma's car went off the bridge. Twelve vehicles were involved in five separate collisions, police said. It started when a semi plowed into cars that had been stopped by a fender-bender near the Kellogg Avenue exit, witnesses said.
One driver who saw what happened called it "horrifying."
Several motorists called 911 and one reported seeing three heads bobbing in the water, but the caller later said he couldn't be sure he wasn't seeing debris.
LISTEN to some of the 911 calls.
A solitary diver, almost unable to see in the murky water, went to river bottom nearly 40 feet below the surface Saturday and secured the car with straps. The car was lying upside-down and was nearly filled with silt and mud, the diver said. A heavy crane on a barge then slowly raised it to the surface and lowered it gently on the barge.