A group of five traveling to Minnesota from Kentucky died in Southern Illinois as high water swept their car from the road.
Three adults and two kids lost their lives in Southern Illinois this weekend when a raging creek trapped them inside their vehicle as it tried to cross a bridge. According to an AP report, the East Fork Creek near the town of Patoka, IL was swollen due to heavy rains over the week that ravaged the Midwest and the south east.
The water in the creek swept the car from a bridge around 7:30pm on Saturday Night in the town of Patoka, which is roughly 60 miles east of St. Louis. According to the Marion County Coroner, Troy Cannon, the vehicle was stuck about 150 feet downstream of the bridge when one of the adults inside called 911 for help. When dispatchers arrived at the scene, however, the car had become dislodged and submerged in the creek.
Divers pulled the vehicle from the creek several hours after the call, and Cannon pronounced all five of the vehicle’s occupants dead from drowning just before midnight on Saturday.
The car was traveling down interstate 57, and investigators believed the group had stopped for gas or food when their path led them toward the low-hanging bridge over the East Fork Creek. Authorities have not released the identities of the victims, pending the notification of relatives in both Kentucky and Minnesota.
According to Cannon, “The low-water crossing under normal conditions typically has very little water trickling across the roadway, if any at all. However, with the recent heavy rains, East Fork Creek, as with all other waterways in the region, was swollen and moving swiftly.”
According to the Pakota Fire Chief, the river had risen roughly 5 feet above the road. He believes that the car’s occupants may not have even seen the water before driving into it.
A report about the recent rash of severe weather throughout the country, which has left at least 18 people dead over the holiday week, can be found here.