SPENCER COUNTY, Ky. (WAVE) – A man died after his vehicle was swept away in floodwaters, Gray affiliate WAVE reports.
Emergency crews responded to a report of a water rescue on Old Heady Road at Plum Creek Road around 1:40 a.m. Monday, according to Spencer County Sheriff Scott Herndon.
Herndon said the car was swept away when the driver tried to cross a flooded bridge.
The man’s wife and two children who were inside the vehicle were rescued and the sheriff said it is a miracle that they were safe.
Herndon said the man’s body, identified as Jorge Luis Cantu Jr., of Shelbyville, was found by a resident in the 500 block of Creek Valley Road.
The woman was found in the water, holding onto a tree.
According to a post by the Taylor-Spencer County Fire Protection District “a child that was about a quarter of a mile downstream that had made it to the bank. Then another child was located downstream on the bank by a KSP Trooper.”
Herndon said the family was returning from a Father’s day celebration when the vehicle was swept away. Crews who were searching by boat suspended their search around 4 a.m. due to swift water conditions.
“At this time we feel like we’ve done everything we can do under the conditions that we have. We’ve got high, swift water. We’ve tried to deploy boats. The boats aren’t able to navigate this water because it’s shallow, rocky bottom,” Herndon said. “Even with high water you’re still hitting a lot of rocks and stuff. It spun the prop on one engine already and it’s just too dangerous to put people in there.”
A drone was also used to search for the man.
“We came up with nothing with that effort,” Herndon said. “We’re going to suspend operations until 8 in the morning. Hopefully the water has gone back down at that point, to where we can search better. Hopefully the missing person is caught in a tree or something and we can recover him in good shape.”
Herndon said the bridge was replaced several years ago.
“It had a wash over bridge that would be a lot deeper when you went across it. This is a new and improved bridge, I’m thinking it’s 5 or 6 years old. But with the amount of rain we’ve had tonight, it’s still flooding over top of that bridge. When it was put in, it had bigger culverts to handle the water, but we’ve just had so much rain that it couldn’t handle it,” he said.
Herndon added: “They made a bad decision by driving across it. It went into the water very quickly, as soon as they got into the water. If there’s water on the bridge, it’s not worth it or a low place in the road, it’s just not worth it. Drive around. Take a few extra minutes to save your life.”