Friends, family continue search for Fruitland man

In a Parkside High School graduation photo from last spring, Erik Mezick, left, with his family: his son, Dylan; wife, Megan; and daughter, Hannah.

Family and friends of Erik Mezick, who has been missing since Dec. 29 when the truck he was driving plunged over the side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, have launched a search that has included private boats, planes and drones.

Now they are offering a $10,000 reward to whoever finds him.

“I can’t stand him being in the water by himself,” said Kevin Mezick, Erik’s brother. “We’re going to bring him home.”

The Fruitland man was seen exiting the Cloverland Greenspring Dairy truck into the water, but was never seen again and is presumed dead.

When a door from the wrecked vehicle and some other debris washed up about 20 miles south of Virginia Beach, Kevin Mezick and others drove down there in hopes they would find Erik.

Ben Shepherd of Virginia Beach, who heard of the search and volunteered the use of his 31-foot boat, took a group of family members out for more than seven hours on Saturday, covering 100 square miles, including Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge, a barrier island at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.

“Tremendous shoutout to Ben Shepherd for volunteering to help a family you don’t even know!” Doug Marshall, a friend since childhood said in a post to his Facebook page Finding Erik Mezick.

Marshall said he was told by rescue experts that there is a good chance Erik is still around Fisherman Island area.

“Anybody in that Eastern Shore of VA that is duck hunting today, please spend some time looking around those tributaries,” Marshall said on Facebook.

Marshall has been in touch with a contractor at Wallops Flight Facility who plans to fly three drones to help in the search.

He also spotted a private plane that was clearly searching the area. Marshall said he doesn’t know who the pilot is, but he traced the plane’s tail number to California, Md., in St. Mary’s County.

Marshall said searching the area by boat is difficult because of the “intense” current near the bridge-tunnel and 6- to 7-foot seas. “It is so, so scary,” he said.

Kevin went out again on Tuesday at Kiptopeke.

“Just launched the boat,” he said on Facebook. “No wind water smooth as glass. Perfect conditions for search. Putting an all call for all boats to respond and assist with search for Erik. Forever grateful.”

For Kevin, the loss of Erik is hard to comprehend. His brother survived two previous serious traffic accidents – both of which put him in a coma – and also beat lymphoma last year.

“He’s been a survivor of everything,” he said.

Erick, 47, had worked for Cloverland since last March, after taking early retirement from a job as a correctional officer at the Wicomico County Detention Center.

“He always wanted to drive a truck,” Kevin said. “He absolutely loved it.”

Erik leaves behind his wife of 20 years, Megan, son Dylan, 18, and daughter Hannah, 15. Now friends are rallying to help raise money for the family.

A fundraiser on the Christian website Give Send Go had raised $69,528 toward a $75,000 goal as of Tuesday.

This Sunday, Jan. 10, from noon to 3 p.m. at the Fruitland Falcons Sports Complex, The Athlete Academy and Fruitland Falcons will be holding an Athlete-a-Thon to raise money for the Mezick Sibling’s College Fund.

Businesses and individual donors are asked to sponsor an athlete or team. Anyone interested in being a part of the event is asked to contact Cody Revel at 302-519-5239 or by email, Info@AthleteAcademyMD.com

“Everybody’s been so, so generous and kind,” Kevin said.

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