Car found in Cuyahoga River at Portage Trail and Akron-Peninsula Road

Survivor: 'I'm lucky to be alive'

AKRON, Ohio - An Akron man said a deer jumped in front of him around 1 a.m., causing him to drive onto a bridge concrete barrier on Akron-Peninsula Road, and then plunge 25-feet into the Cuyahoga River in Akron.

Someone walking along the towpath spotted the car, partially submerged in the water, around noon below the road before it turns into Portage Path.

"We did not find a body or anybody inside the vehicle," said Akron Police Lt. Rick Edwards.

Authorities identified the owner of the black Pontiac Grand Prix as Robert Bugge. He returned to the scene Tuesday afternoon.

"Dazed. Scared. Never been so close to death before," Bugge told NewsChannel5.

Bugge, who suffered numerous cuts and bruises on his face, said he got off work in Macedonia around 10 p.m. and then stopped at a restaurant to grab some food.

He said he was heading home when he swerved to avoid a deer, and drove onto the concrete barrier that separates the northbound and southbound lanes.

"The next thing I know, I'm in my car upside down. I don't know how I got out of the car. I climbed up the rock bank," Bugge said.

The man said he walked home, about a mile from the crash site, and said he hadn't been drinking.

He said he did not call police or family members after the accident because he just wanted to get home where he was safe.

"My cellphone is still in the car with everything," Bugge said.

Paramedics treated Bugge inside an ambulance Tuesday afternoon before he was taken to a local hospital for observation.

Bugge will be charged with failure to control.

Lt. Edwards said it was very fortunate that Bugge survived the fall and crash.

"You can see the rocks and debris along the riverbed here when the vehicle flipped upside down. It busted all the windows out, (he was) lucky that he wasn't pinned inside," Edwards said.

This is the same area where dump truck driver Christopher Burgess lost control and died on July 5. Faulty brakes were determined to be the cause of that fatal crash.

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