Emergency officials encourage people to avoid high water

MIDDLEPORT, Ohio (WSAZ) -- With two deaths in one day in our area due to high water, emergency officials are urging people to avoid roads with high water.

Just hours after a Wellston man was found dead on a road with high water in Pike County, Ohio, Middleport Volunteer Fire Department got a call about a high water rescue on Leading Creek Road.

A neighbor who called 911 grabbed a rope and tried to help the man.

"He saw the guy splashing around and then he saw him floating under a fence that was alongside the road,” said Fire Chief Jeff Darst.

Emergency crews responded within minutes of the call, but they were met with a lot of obstacles.

"The water was very swift. If you can imagine a tree-lined creek bed, so there was trees everywhere and brush,” he said.

After two hours of searching in the pouring rain, crews recovered the body of 54 year-old Lawton Templeton.

According to the Meigs County Sheriff's Office, Templeton tried to drive through the water and after his car began to sink, he tried to get out but was swept away by the current.

This isn't the first emergency call that Darst has responded to. In another case, they were able to save a woman in a similar situation.

"She’d always heard that if you could see the yellow line on the road that it was safe to drive through,” he said.

But Darst says this is not true and warns anyone who comes across a flooded road.

"People underestimate the power of swift-moving water,” he said.

Driving through can put more than just you at risk

"They're not only endangering their self, but then they’re endangering anybody that's called,” Darst said.

He encourages people to stay in the car and call 911 right away unless it is becoming submerged quickly.

He says in Thursday night’s case, if the man had stayed in the car they could've saved him.

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