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Man dies after vehicle plunged into canal

A man is dead after his car went into a canal this morning along Boca Rio Road, which fronts Florida's Turnpike west of Boca Raton.

Charles Scher, 53, a certified public accountant who lived in suburban Boca Raton, who was in the water for up to 30 minutes, died after being taken to West Boca Medical Center in cardiac arrest, Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Capt. Don DeLucia said.

Scher had a terminal medical condition and was returning from a session with a physical therapist, said Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Lt. Michael Reardon.

Divers in wet suits found only Scher and called off the search for other victims at about 9:30 a.m.

DeLucia said people saw the 2009 Lexus go into the water around 8 a.m. near Boca Lago Boulevard, just north of Palmetto Park Road.

Witnesses said Scher might have had a seizure. According to their reports, Scher was slumped behind the wheel. His car was stopped at Via Ancho Road and then started moving again into the canal, said sheriff's office traffic homicide investigator John Churchill. There were no skid marks on the road, indicating the driver did not brake.

Boca Rio was closed at Via Ancho Road, about halfway between Glades and Palmetto Park roads.

The stretch of canal has been the site of previous fatal incidents.

In August 2005, three boys were killed when a church bus went into the water very close to where the car went in this morning. That prompted the state to install a new guardrail system on the turnpike to protect motorists from drowning in canals and drainage ponds. From 1999 to 2004, 24 people died in canal accidents along the length of the turnpike.

And in 1997, fishermen discovered a submerged van; inside were the remains of five friends from Broward County who'd been in the vehicle for 18 years.