Sad news but not unexpected: James Hogan’s body found

The body of James Hogan, 79, who had been missing since his family’s car crashed into a Walnut Creek canal has been found and identified, authorities say.

Hogan’s body was located Wednesday evening east of Buchanan Field Airport in Concord. A Contra Costa County Sheriff’s helicopter crew spotted the body. An autopsy performed Thursday showed Hogan, a Walnut Creek resident, died of drowning.

Hogan had been presumed dead since Sunday evening. That’s when a Honda Accord he was riding in lost control on San Miguel Drive near Mt. Diablo Boulevard during a downpour and crashed into the canal. The canal, also known as Walnut Creek, runs behind the downtown Safeway and along the Iron Horse Trail.

Hogan’s 40-year-old son, Tim Hogan, was driving, and Hogan’s wife, Janet, 74, was a passenger. Tim Hogan, a Walnut Creek native who more recently lived in San Diego, didn’t make it out of the car after it flipped and landed upside down in the rain-swollen waterway.  He was found in the car dead. The cause of his death is pending.

James and Janet Hogan somehow made it out of the car. Media and rescue personnel spotted James and Janet Hogan being carried downstream–north–in the cold, fast-moving water. Janet Hogan was seen struggling to keep her head above water for about two miles, while James Hogan was seen floating face down.

Janet Hogan was plucked from the water by a Contra Costa Consolidated Fire District engineer, working with a CHP helicopter. She was transported to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.

James Hogan was a 16-year volunteer with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department. He was also a head usher at St. Mary Catholic Church in Walnut Creek, the San Francisco Chronicle says. Janet Hogan gave a reading at the church on Sunday, just hours before the crash, church officials told the Chronicle.

6 thoughts on “Sad news but not unexpected: James Hogan’s body found

  1. I'm sorry for this loss but it is encouraging that safety personnel did all that they could to rescue the victims and were successful with one in the most difficult of circumstances. May the family have hope from that success.


  2. I'm glad for the family that they found his remains. What a horrific event, I bike by there daily and would never have thought such a tragedy would occur there.

    Perhaps they should hang netting under the bridges in that horrific channel of death. There is no way out, and the exit by Bancroft is certain death; in fact there is a sign painted there, 'stay out, stay alive'. There ought to be a last chance to grab something before getting shot through the Bancroft dam.


  3. I live near the crash site. Am I the only one that finds it hard to believe that a 2000 Honda Accord could accidentally slide into the creek there? I also find it an interesting coincidence that this happened to this devoutly Catholic family two days after Stephen Kiesle's story went international and he was reported to be living in Rossmoor. Tim Hogan was 11 when that letter was sent to the Vatican in 1981. Just wondering.


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