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Cape Gazette
Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
March 19, 2004     Cape Gazette
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March 19, 2004
 

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CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, March 19 - March 25, 2004 - 9 Lewes man drowns after truck rolls into canal Henry W. "Hank" Grasing drowned sometime between late March 12 and the early evening March 13, after his truck rolled in- to the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal. Grasing had been reported miss- ing earlier in the day, March 12, after a family member said he did not return home the night before or report to work in the early morning. Grasing was last seen at approx- imately 10 p.m., March 12, at the American Legion in Lewes, about three miles from his residence. State and local police searched for Grasing throughout the day, look- ing for him or his 1993 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck. "They had confwmed his vehi- cle had not been towed, that his tag has not been run in NCIC [Na- tional Crime Information Center], and that his credit cards, bank cards, cellular phone and EZ Pass had not been active," said Lt. Al- ice Bailey, state police spokes- woman. Additionally, she said, the state police helicopter had twice searched the area and local residents had scouted the area on foot, including some who donned hip waders to search wetland ar- eas. Shortly after 6:30 p.m., March 13, a couple who went to check a boat spotted the underbelly of a truck lodged against the bulk- headed bank of the canal, in front of a parking area on Pilottown Road, opposite Hoornkill Avenue. They called Lewes police, who upon arrival summoned rescue workers and the Delaware State Police Fatal Accident Investiga- tion and Reconstruction (FAIR) team. At the time rescuers arrived, it was low tide, and the truck was in about 3 feet of water. Lewes Fire Department used its rescue boat as well as rescuers deployed from shore to pull Grasing's body from the truck. "Grasing appears to have not been wearing his seat belt at the time of the crash. The vehicle was not equipped with an airbag," said Bailey. "Alcohol use was a factor in the crash." Police believe Grasing was traveling eastbound on Hoornkill Avenue, when he crossed the Pi- lottown Road intersection, trav- eled over a flower bed and through the clamshell parking lot that serves the boat slips in that area. "Just before he approached the dock area, he appears to have veered to the left, trying to stop," said Bailey. "The front end crossed the bulkhead, broke a foot dock and tumbled onto its roof in the Lewes Canal." At high tide, that area of the canal is usually about 6 feet deep. The FAIR team is continuing its investigation. Grasing, 47, of Lewes, was a launch operator for the Pilot's As- sociation who transported pilots to incoming and outgoing vessels. He is survived by his wife, Loft, and his 10-year-old son, Luke. Grasing's father recently died, but he is also survived by his mother, Nancy Grasing, also of Lewes. For obituary, see page 70. Kerry Kester photos Cpl. Lad Dick, Delaware State Police Fatal Accident Inves- tigation and Reconstruction (FAIR) team member, takes pho- tographs of the underbelly of a 1993 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck that traveled into the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal sometime after 10 p.m., March 12. The vehicle was discovered shortly after 6:30 p.m., March 13. Lewes Fire Department rescuers retrieved Hank Grasing's body from the truck. Grasing, 47, of Lewes was a launch pilot for the Pilot's Association. The FAIR team is continuing its investigation. Coastal Towing worked with Lewes Fire Department mem- bers to retrieve a 1993 Chevy S-10 pickup truck from the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal. Hank Grasing of Lewes, apparently drove the vehicle down Hoornkill Avenue, across Pilottown Road and into the water, where it came to rest against the bulkheaded bank between two docks. A third dock located between the other two, appears to have provided some sup- port for the vehicle, although the water was only 3 feet deep at low tide and an estimated 6 feet deep at high tide. Rehoboth's annual cleanup is April 26 to May 7 The city of Rehoboth Beach will hold its annual cleanup from April 27 through May 7. The cleanup is for discarded items oth- er than household trash. Construc- tion materials, tires and oil-based paint will not be picked up by city workers. City crews will begin the cleanup on the south side of Re- hobothAvenue starting with the Lake Drive area during the week of April 26-30. The north side of Rehoboth Avenue, including the Schoolvue area, will be picked up starting with Henlopen Avenue, during the week of May 3-7. All items should be' discarded in a safe manner. City employees will not be authorized to go back into an area once pick-up is com- pleted. All residents are to have their discarded items at the curb during the designated week, . 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