SELLERSBURG, In. – An all night rain, then quickly rising flood waters caught some drivers off guard Friday morning.
Randall Hutchings was giving his son a ride home from work in Sellersburg early in the morning when the routine drive turned dangerous in just seconds.
It’s a sight that makes Randall Hutchings sick, his car stranded in several feet of water. It’s not the car he’s worried about. This is the spot where Randall very nearly died. “It’s scary. It’s scary to think about what could have been,” he said.
Across Kentuckiana, heavy rains sent water rushing across roads. At 5 in the morning, Hutchings was picking his son, 31-year-old James up from work. The Hutchings turned onto S. Penn Avenue in Sellersburg, which was also covered with what looked like shallow water.
“We started to spin and the via duct sucked us through,” Hutchings remembered, “The first thing I said was, ‘Undo your seatbelt and let’s get out of here.’ Cause the water was already, by the time we got started through the via duct, it was up to our waists in the car.”
James got out and to the bank, Randall struggled with his door against the current. He finally got it open, but faced a new problem.
“I was going to hold onto the door, but the current slammed the door shut and it automatically locked and I only had the outside mirror to hold onto.” James ran to find help. “He kept telling me to hang on, just hang on,” Randall recalled.
But, Randall’s grip was starting to slip in the icy, rushing flood water. “I was sure I was gone. I was sure I was dying,” he said.
James came back and reached for his father with a log.
“I was trying to tell him ‘Don’t try it, the current is too strong,’ and he said, ‘Shut up, Dad,’” Randall said.
The log snapped and he had to grab at saplings under the water.
“I missed the first one, I was able to get the second one and walk myself with my hands close enough where he could put his hand out and grab my hand and then he threw me to a tree,” he explained, “My kids came through. My son saved my life…I just thanked him. I just hugged him and thanked him.”
The water and shock have receded, but coming that close to death changed Randall and taught him a lesson he likely won’t forget.
“I would’ve stayed out of the water. I would not have attempted to go through that water,” he said.
Randall was taken to the hospital with chest pains. He was suffering from the early stages of hypothermia. He was also treated for shock.
His message to other drivers? Looks can be deceiving. Never drive through water no matter how shallow you think it is.