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Branson, Mo. man dies after crashing into dock on Lake Taneycomo

Published: May. 6, 2021 at 10:10 AM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - Police say a man died after crashing his car into a private dock on Lake Taneycomo in Branson Wednesday.

David Woolery, 87, died from injuries in the crash.

Officers responded to the 100 block of River Valley Road around 2 p.m. Wednesday. Investigators say Woolery wedged his car under the private dock. Emergency crews asked the U.S. Corp of Engineers to close the flood gates to slow the release of water to get to Woolery’s vehicle. Investigators call it a terrible tragedy.

Woolery is credited with starting the 911 emergency phone system in 1991 in Taney County, serving as the first Taney County 911 Administrator.

Neighbor Ronald VanderLaan said he and his son were fishing when they saw law enforcement running down to the water.

Ronald said what he thought was a boat under water was actually his neighbor, David Woolery’s car and he was still in it.

“I could see him in the car partly and the officers made an attempt to go down,” Ronald VanderLaan said.

VanderLaan said he watched as law enforcement worked to cut the seatbelt off of Woolery.

The Branson Police Chief, Jeff Matthews said the investigation is still ongoing at this time.

“We do not know the cause of the vehicle going into the lake it did back into the lake but we’re not sure why it backed into the lake at this point,” Matthews said.

Woolery was then taken to Cox Hospital Branson where he was pronounced dead.

”David Woolery is was a fixture of Branson, very well known, very appreciated, very loved in the community and it’s a tragic accident at this point that we believe,” Matthews said.

Woolery’s former co-worker Tammy Hagler said Woolery will be missed.

”He just wanted Taney County to be a better place and he was always working for the citizens and wanted to volunteer,“ Tammy Hagler said.

”It’ll be a loss for the block down here and the community,” VanderLaan said.

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