An upside down car in an irrigation canal near Pasco caused a stir as rescue crews tried to determine if someone still was inside.
No one saw the 1993 Mitsubishi Diamante go into the Esquetzel Canal on Bellevue Road near Selph Landing Road, but a passer-by called 911 after spotting the submerged car just before noon Monday, officials said.
Only the car's wheels were visible in the deep canal and officials quickly called out Columbia Basin Dive Rescue to check for occupants.
Franklin County sheriff's deputies, Franklin Fire District 3 crews, a Pasco Fire ambulance and Washington State Patrol troopers responded.
While crews were getting ready to search the car, the driver, Eleazar Curiel, 25, of Pasco, showed up.
Curiel said he was driving south on Bellevue Road fiddling with his cell phone to try to get music playing when he drove into the canal.
He said the car went in nose first, then flipped onto its top. He was able to get out with just minor scratches.
But, instead of calling 911, Curiel went home to shower and called his mom before returning to the crash scene.
"Since he walked home and took a shower, he should have called us," said sheriff's Sgt. Jim Dickenson. "We could have avoided a lot of this."
Dickenson said drivers involved in similar situations should call 911 immediately.
As Casady Towing in Pasco, with help from Dive Rescue members, pulled the car out of the canal, Curiel's mother showed up and hugged her son. "He's going to be in trouble but I'm just relieved that he's fine," she said.
The canal is operated by the South Columbia Irrigation District, but irrigation staff said there were no concerns about the water being contaminated.