Waldo fisherman found dead, pinned under tractor, is ID'd

Alachua County sheriff's officials were at a canal off Northeast 146th Ave. in Waldo, where a fisherman was reported missing.

Doug Finger/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, April 1, 2011 at 8:50 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 1, 2011 at 10:30 p.m.

A fisherman who apparently drowned in a Waldo-area canal has been identified as Jim Dowling of Waldo.

The Alachua County Sheriff's Office said Dowling, 56, was found in waist-deep water Friday morning, his death an apparent accident when his tractor overturned on him and pinned him underwater.

Sheriff's spokesman Art Forgey said Dowling had driven his tractor Thursday night to a canal off Lake Alto to do some fishing. He was last seen around 10 p.m. Thursday in the 15000 block of Northeast 146th Avenue.

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Forgey said Dowling's wife went to the canal to give Dowling's tractor a jump start.

She went back to the canal around midnight to look for Dowling because he had not returned home, but did not see him or the tractor, according to investigators.

Just before 7:30 a.m. Friday, Dowling's wife returned to the area and spotted the tractor overturned with Dowling pinned beneath it. Deputies said a neighbor helped the woman move the tractor and recover Dowling's body from waist-deep water.

The Medical Examiner's Office in Gainesville was expected to perform an autopsy to help determine the exact cause of Dowling's death.

Waldo Police Chief Michael Szabo said Dowling's driver license had been permanently revoked for multiple traffic violations.

Szabo said Dowling's wife told authorities he had been drinking before going fishing.

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