Pickup Pulled from Bottom of Lon Hagler Reservoir Near Loveland

July 7, 2018

Tow truck operator Brian Bunn pulls a Chevrolet pickup out of Lon Hagler Reservoir on Friday at the lake southwest of Loveland. Fishermen on a pontoon boat spotted the pickup while fishing and called 911. No one was in the truck.

Three men fishing from a boat on Lon Hagler Reservoir on Friday caught no fish but ended up making a discovery that required a tow truck to haul in.

The fishermen spotted an unusual object at the bottom of the lake southwest of Loveland that turned out to be a pickup, prompting a dive-rescue response from Loveland firefighters.

No one was in the truck when a Loveland Fire Rescue Authority diver looked inside the vehicle, which was sitting in about 10 feet of water.

“We caught an oversized case of disgust,” Dave Sanger Sr. said of their fishing disappointment, “and then we caught a truck.”

Sanger and his brother, John Sanger, both of the Frederick-Firestone area, and Dave’s son, Dave Sanger Jr. of Del Camino, were fishing from a 20-foot pontoon boat when they saw something on the bottom.

They noted the GPS coordinates, Dave Sr. said, and then, after trolling for a while and catching no fish, they returned to the spot to check it out.

“We went over it once, and we thought it was somebody’s boat that sank,” Dave Sanger Sr. said. “We decided to go back to look at it, and, ‘Holy cow, it’s a pickup!’”

Dave Sanger Jr. called 911 at 12:53 p.m., and Loveland firefighters arrived in full dive-rescue mode, according to battalion chief Michael Cerovski.

After a diver determined that no one was in the truck, the firefighters shifted to property recovery, Cerovski said. It appeared that the vehicle, about 100 feet off the south shore, had been in the water for a while, he said.

“We don’t have any tire marks. My suspicion is this is an old issue,” Cerovski said.

Lon Hagler, southwest of Loveland between county roads 16 and 16E, is a reservoir managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Area wildlife manager Kristin Cannon was observing the recovery of the truck, which turned out to be a Chevrolet Silverado crew cab, she said.

“I’m not sure how long it’s been in there. It’s pretty muddy and pretty smelly — longer than a few days, I’d say,” Cannon said.

Cannon said she didn’t know if the pickup had been stolen because she hadn’t run the license plates yet.

The Sangers pulled their boat to the shore to watch the recovery efforts.

“It was definitely unexpected,” Dave Sanger Jr. said. “We normally catch fish here, but today just wasn’t our day.”

Reporter-Herald photographer Jenny Sparks contributed to this report.

Craig Young: 970-635-3634, cyoung@reporter-herald.com , www.twitter.com/CraigYoungRH .

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