TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) – The search for a missing Huntsville man has stretched on for six days without a shred of evidence as to Kevin Gray’s whereabouts. According to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, Kevin Gray and several members of his family were visiting Eutaw to celebrate his and his mother’s birthday last weekend. Gray and his brother, Brian Smith, took a relative’s Birmingham rental car, a 2014 Dodge Challenger, out for a test drive. Authorities with the Alabama State Troopers and the sheriffs office have stated they believe the car was moving at excessively high speeds down the road to the Locke 7 boat ramp when the car smashed through a guardrail and into the Black Warrior River. There are no tire marks along the road that indicate whether or not anyone attempted to brake.
Brian Smith, who was released from the hospital on Thursday, denies the fact that they were speeding. Smith claims he and Gray were talking about a concert and that the guardrail seemed to appear without warning. Smith says Gray was driving. Smith calls Gray his best friend and says Gray comforted him while they floated out into the river for nearly five minutes before the car finally sank. Smith says Kevin escaped the car by kicking out the back window, while he escaped through the passenger window. He says they both began to swim at the same time, but that he lost track of Gray and could not hear his splashing after some time.
Smith claims he pulled himself out of the river and started to walk through the woods in hopes of finding help. Doctors later confirmed that Smith had sustained a spinal injury. He was also missing his boots and pants. Finally, a motorist saw Smith and picked him up, then called 911. Law enforcement think the accident happened around 5:30pm Sunday evening, but the 911 call was not made until just before 8:00pm.
The vehicle was recovered after 6:00pm on Monday afternoon. The back window was the only one that appeared to have been disturbed. Investigators say they were hopeful that Gray’s body would be located inside or nearby. Experts in the scene say, that’s often the case in similar situations. However, after days with a Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue’s Dive Unit and assistance from the Alabama Marine Police and a dog search team out of North Alabama, there still hasn’t been a trace of Gray.
Gray’s family is hopeful that means he could have escaped the river and could be injured in the woods somewhere. They have done several searches of the nearby woods on foot. Smith has also returned to the boat ramp to show investigators landmarks from the accident that could be helpful in locating Gray.
The family has also hired their own dive team out of Huntsville that will search for Gray on Saturday. Sheriff Jonathan Benison says the completion of Saturday’s search should help them decide how they want to proceed with the investigation and with the water searches.
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