MAUMEE, IN (WAVE) - Five people spent the night stranded on a county road in northwest Jackson County on Tuesday after the driver of a Jeep tried to go through floodwaters.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office said the driver got his Jeep stuck in the water around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. He then waded south through four feet of water and walked all night to find help.
Meanwhile, the four others he was with stayed on the roof of the car all night, trying to call 911. The group did not have cell service.
One of the women in the group burned her purse and other dry items in the Jeep to try to stay warm throughout the night, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Adam Nicholson said.
The man who left the group to find help found a house about 14 hours later, a mile and a half away from the flooded car. Someone in that house called 911 around 8:15 a.m. Wednesday.
When officers got to the scene on County Road 1190 West just north of Robertson Cemetery, they couldn’t get to the Jeep because the water was still so high.
“We used a drone to fly out there to get some still footage and we could watch live footage also to see if anyone was in or on top of the vehicle," Nicholson said. “We were unable to locate any of those people so then we started wondering if they were going to be all right.”
Around the same time, dispatchers got a call from the group of four. They had left the Jeep around 7 a.m. looking for help.
“They had walked around the corner and on top of the hill to finally get some cell phone service,” Nicholson said.
Conservation had been looking for the five people since Tuesday night after family members said they hadn’t returned home, but didn’t know where they were. Conservation arrived on scene to assist along with Pershing and Owen Township Fire Departments.
Pershing Fireman Brent Terry heard the call on the radio and brought his personal johnboat to the scene to help. First responders waded through the water to get to the group of four.
All five were taken to the hospital for hypothermia symptoms and were later released.
Nicholson said the driver will be fined under the county ordinance for driving through flood waters.