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Floodwaters endanger drivers


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A motorist who spent nearly two hours on the roof of her pickup Saturday after it stalled in floodwaters was hospitalized for the treatment of potential hypothermia.

Teresa Hilton, 43, of Crothersville, was taken to Schneck Medical Center in Seymour for treatment after the incident reported at 4:05 p.m. in the Retreat area just north of Crothersville. A condition update was not available.

Hilton was not the only motorist to drive into floodwaters Saturday in Jackson County. A second incident was reported west of the Shieldstown Bridge earlier in the day, but little information about that incident was available Sunday.

Conservation Officer Phil Nale said Hilton was suffering from some “pretty serious” hypothermia by the time he and Conservation Officer Matt Piercy from Scott County were able to reach her by airboat.

“She was asleep, and I had to whistle at her to get her up,” Nale said of Hilton, who was pulled from the roof of her Chevrolet S10 in the 9000 block of County Road 400S at about 6 p.m. Saturday.

He said Hilton’s speech was slow, she was chilled, and it was hard to even get a life-jacket on her to get her into the airboat.

Once she was in the airboat, Hilton was taken to dry land on County Road 400S near County Road 1010E and treated by personnel with Jackson County Emergency Medical Services before being taken to Schneck.

Nale said he was surprised at how much floodwater Hilton drove through as she headed west on County Road 400E from Retreat.

“She was at least a half mile out (from dry pavement),” Nale said.

Nale said the effort to rescue Hilton was slowed some because he had to drive to Jackson-Washington State Forest, east of Brownstown, to retrieve the boat and then drive to Seymour before heading to the Crothersville area to avoid floodwaters.

Other rivers faced similar problems. Earlier in the day, a woman was ticketed for driving into floodwaters west of the Shieldstown Bridge.

Lt. Darin Downs with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department said a firetruck was used to pull the woman’s vehicle from the floodwaters. The woman was not seriously injured. The incident was investigated by county Officer Dustin Steward, Downs said.

“She was wet and cold,” Downs said.

Crothersville Officer Kelley Barger and county Reserve Officer Rick Hirtzel assisted at the scene with Hilton along with Crothersville-Vernon Township firefighters, Piercy and three conservation officers from Clark County.

The floodwaters were from the Retreat Ditch, which empties into the Vernon Fork of the Muscatatuck River west of Crothersville.

The East Fork White River is expected to crest at 16.33 feet early this morning at Rockford. The river is not expected to dip below flood stage of 12 feet until Tuesday evening.

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