Officers respond to trio of water-rescue incidents


Water rescues in flooded areas kept Jackson County Sheriff’s Department officers busy during the weekend.

The first was reported at 4:20 a.m. Saturday on County Road 600S just east of State Road 135 near Vallonia.

When Officer Jesse Hutchinson arrived, Jackson County Emergency Medical Services personnel were treating two men, identified as Jeffrey Hamilton, 30, of Shelbyville and Garnet Dennison, whose age and residence were not available.

[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]

In speaking with the two men, Hutchinson learned they were heading to the Austin area to hunt ducks when they came up over a hill and didn’t see water over the road until it was too late. Lt. Andy Wayman with the sheriff’s department said the road curves and dips in that area and is prone to flooding.

The vehicle came to a stop in the floodwaters and then floated about 50 yards off the roadway and sank, Hutchinson reported.

The men were able to get out of the vehicle and swim to dry land. They were not injured but were placed in an ambulance to warm up, police said.

Hutchinson and Joe Kelly, both members of the sheriff’s department’s Swift Water Rescue Team, later helped pull the vehicle out of the water.

The second call for a water rescue came in about 3:45 p.m. Saturday. The caller reported a vehicle in water with people inside on State Road 256 in Washington County.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Department responded to the scene and just found one person in the vehicle. Deputies waded out to the vehicle to rescue the man, police said.

Jackson County Officer Rick Meyer came upon the incident and called dispatch. When they contacted Washington County dispatch, it was learned that someone already had reported the incident.

The other incident was reported about 11:25 p.m. Saturday as a property-damage wreck with a vehicle in water.

When county Reserve Officer Mitch Ray arrived on the scene, he learned a motorist was driving along County Road 600S just east of County Road 325E south of Tampico and didn’t notice high water until it was too late.

The driver tried to back out of the water, but the vehicle washed into a ditch, police said.

Wayman said all three incidents occurred in low areas that often flood after heavy rains. Signs are posted warning motorists that the roads are closed when flooding occurs, and a fine of up to $500 is possible if the signs are disregarded.

Wayman said the sheriff’s department recently cited people for driving into floodwaters, but he was unsure if the motorists involved in Saturday’s incidents in Jackson County received tickets.

The Muscatatuck River, which flows along the southern edge of the county, crested at nearly 24 feet Thursday. Flood stage is 16 feet.

The East Fork White River crested at 17.79 feet at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday at Rockford north of Seymour and had fallen to 8.2 feet Monday morning. Flood stage is 12 feet.

The Jackson County Highway Department reports several roads are still closed due to high water. They are County Road 400E near Shieldstown and Sparksville Pike, County Road 925W, County Road 675S and State Road 235 in the Medora area.

No posts to display