Police rescued four people who spent Tuesday night and a good part of Wednesday in floodwaters during an incident in northwestern Jackson County.
The four were Kimberly Miller, 39, of Oakland City, Aleigha Tarbutton, 18, of Hillsboro, Ohio, Savanah James, 22, of Bethel, Ohio, and Cheaney Evitts, 25, of Bedford.
Gene Flint, 32, of Osgood was with the group when the vehicle became stuck. He left at some point to get help and was later located at a residence about a mile and a half south where he called for help.
Jackson County Lt. Adam Nicholson said the five were driving at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when Flint’s Jeep Cherokee became stuck in floodwaters at 10275 N. County Road 1190W in Maumee north of Robertson Cemetery. That area becomes flooded from water from the tributaries to Lake Monroe.
Floodwater made its way into the vehicle, Nicholson said, and everyone got out of the vehicle and laid on top of the roof. Nicholson estimated the water was between 4½ and 5 feet deep.
The group had multiple cellphones but did not have signal and eventually lost battery power, Nicholson said.
Some time later, Flint left the group to seek help and walked a mile and a half south. The four women stayed on the roof and burned items from inside the vehicle on the roof of the car to stay warm, Nicholson said.
Police were called to the scene at 8:14 a.m. and found no one in or on the vehicle.
“That’s almost 14 hours in the cold at that point when we received the call,” he said.
Temperatures were below freezing during the night, and the area received a small amount of snow and ice.
Nicholson used the department’s drone to scan the area and confirm no one was in or on top of the car. He said burnt debris was found on the roof.
“The fog made it very difficult to see the vehicle, and we were about 150 yards away,” he said. “The drone was very beneficial.”
One of the doors had remained open, Nicholson said, and he was able to see the flooding in the car.
One member of the group had a cellphone with battery power and was able get service and contact police.
Police were told the group had left the vehicle around 7:15 a.m. Wednesday and walked north of the floodwaters about two-tenths of a mile from where the police were at near the Jeep, Nicholson said.
First responders used a johnboat owned by medic and volunteer firefighter Brent Terry and were able to make it to the group. Nicholson said at least two individuals had difficulty walking because their feet were purple and swollen. They had to be carried to the johnboat.
“We found them there on the road, but they were froze and were wet,” he said.
The rescue was made at 9:53 a.m., and all four were taken to Schneck Medical Center in Seymour to be treated for injuries and were later released, Nicholson said.
The driver will be fined after police determine who was operating the vehicle at the time of the incident, Nicholson said.
Police were assisted by Jackson County Emergency Medical Services, conservation officers and Pershing and Owen township volunteer fire departments.