Rising floodwaters flowing onto Old Cove Road just east of Moselle trapped an area woman in and then on top of her car early Tuesday until she could be rescued by St. Clair Fire Protection District personnel.
Interim Fire Chief Mike Kelley told The Missourian on Tuesday morning that crews were dispatched to Old Cove Road between Moselle Road and Cedar Lake Drive at 5:08 a.m. When they arrived, they found the woman on top of her car, which was sitting in about 10 to 12 inches of water.
The woman was rescued without incident, and she was not injured. Kelley said her Ford Taurus was left at the scene.
Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke identified the woman as 23-year-old Lyndsay Miller of St. Clair.
Kelley said when he and other fire personnel arrived on the scene, they found Miller on top of the eastbound facing car with the vehicle sitting in the water.
“She said she drove her car into the water and it quit,” Kelley said. “When water started coming in the car, she climbed on the top of it and called 911.”
The interim chief said after fire crews assessed the situation, they decided the best course of action was to use a brush truck pulling a rescue boat.
“We drove the truck through the water to the car,” Kelley said. “The boat was on the trailer behind the truck. When we pulled up alongside of the car, the woman stepped into the boat and we drove her to safety on the other side.”
Kelley said it appeared the water was rising at the time of the rescue, so the boat was resting on the trailer but not tied down to it just in case.
“When we got there, the water wasn’t moving much,” Kelley said. “But it looked like the river was coming up and by the time we left, the current was moving.”
Lt. Jason Hatley and firefighter Rob Schumacher were on the rescue boat. Firefighter Jacob Guthrie drove the brush truck. Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy Tim Geisert was also at the scene.
Kelley said crews remained for about an hour.
Kelley estimated that the water had covered Old Cove Road for at least a quarter-mile stretch between Moselle Road and Cedar lake Drive.
Shortly after the incident, Old Cove Road was closed because of the high water, Nearby Shawneetown Ford Road also was closed.
Both of those roads parallel and in places are very close to the twisting Meramec River, and recent heavy rains have pushed the river above flood stage. Kelley said if the floodwater rises enough and the car is not towed, it could float away.