TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) – The City Manager of Tybee Island, Shawn Gillen, tells News 3 the city is conducting an internal investigation after four vehicles got stuck in the marsh.
According to the Coastal Resources Division (CRD) with the Department of Natural Resources, the first vehicle became stuck on Friday when a Tybee Police officer allegedly drove an all-terrain vehicle into the marsh near Teresa Lane.
CRD says the officer then allegedly attempted to use a pickup truck owned by the City of Tybee to remove the Beach Patrol ATV, but the pickup truck also got stuck.
Tybee city workers then reportedly tried to use two backhoes to remove the vehicles, and those also became stuck in the marsh.
The marsh is protected by the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act and requires a permit before any construction or activity can take place. Gillen says the city is going to treat this as a learning curve and train his staff members on the rules around the marshlands.
“It’s an unfortunate series of events. Everyone involved was really acting in what they thought was the best interest of the city,” he said, adding, “They weren’t doing anything nefarious, so sometimes things go sideways like this and we have to stop and take our lumps, and we’ll move on, and we’ll learn from it.”
The city has removed two of the vehicles from the marsh. CRD says a barge and crane will likely be needed to remove the remaining three vehicles. The agency will oversee the removal.
The city is still working to determine how much it will cost to remove and replace the vehicles.