Wreck victim nearly drowns

Brittany Wise Reporter

December 23, 2013

A woman nearly drowned Saturday evening after her vehicle ran into a flooded creek-bed off of Lilac Road and was swept under a bridge and down the creek by quickly moving water.

61-year-old Deborah J. Morrow, of Leitchfield, told officers that she was travelling home from Owensboro when the nearly-fatal accident occurred. She said that she was driving in the northbound lane when she ran off of the roadway and into the water, though she did not remember what caused her to do so.

Morrow’s vehicle was swept into the creek, but she was able to call E911 Dispatch on her cell phone to alert them that she needed help.

Responding officer Adam Cottrell, with the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, wrote in the incident report that, “dispatch advised the caller had crashed into the water and that water was coming into the vehicle.”

Leitchfield Fire Department also responded to the accident, and First Assistant Fire Chief Tim Duvall said that water was quickly filling the car when he arrived on scene.

Duvall said that Morrow’s vehicle had been stopped from travelling further down the creek by becoming lodged against trees in the creek-bed. He said the waters were moving very quickly, and he, along with fellow firefighters William Whobrey, Kevin Pharris and Albert Riggle, “used a rope and swift-water vests and walked into it.”

The first responders removed Morrow from her flooded Buick LeSabre without much time to spare, said Fire Chief Jerry Schlosser, who explained that Morrow would have drowned within minutes if the rescue team had not arrived when they did.

Duvall said that it took his team only two to three minutes to rescue Morrow from the waters.

Duvall said that Morrow was placed in an ambulance and warmed up after having spent time in the frigid waters, but that she was uninjured. According to Cottrell’s report, she refused treatment from Grayson County EMS, and left the scene by private vehicle.

Cottrell received the okay from property owners to leave Morrow’s car overnight due to the difficulty of removing it and determining exactly what had happened during heavy nighttime rains.

The officer returned the following morning and reported that Morrow’s vehicle appeared to have travelled off of the east shoulder of the roadway and down an embankment before entering the creek and then being swept by the currents under a bridge and approximately 30 yards further down the waterway.

The vehicle, which was severely damaged, was stopped by debris in the creek-bed and was removed on Sunday by Stevenson’s Towing.