Motorist details scary slide into floodwaters off Liberty Road
By Sarah Nagem
David Childers was heading to work in Rockwell early Wednesday morning with his wife and 9-month-old son in the backseat.
The sky was still pitch black at 5:45 a.m., and Childers couldn’t see what he was driving his 2000 Kia sedan into.
The remnants of Tropical Storm Fay had swept through Rowan County during the night, sending creeks rising and creating hazardous road conditions.
Childers’ car encountered about a foot of water on Liberty Road as he was on his way to his job at Thompson Screen Prints.
“It hit me all at once,” Childers, 23, said. “I didn’t see it.”
The sedan hydroplaned and went crashing into the ditch on the right side of the road. The 5 feet or so of water in the ditch immediately began to swallow the car, Childers said.
There he was, sitting with his family in a car that he described as being at a 60-degree angle on the side of a road with water rising fast.
“It was coming up on to the top of the hood,” Childers said.
His wife, Jessica, was in the backseat with their son, Jacob.
They called 911. While they waited for rescue workers to arrive, a driver who spotted the car stopped to help.
The man ó Childers never found out who he was ó sloshed into the water in the ditch.
Childers reached into the backseat of the car and grabbed his son. He then handed Jacob through the open window on the driver’s side to the stranger.
Jessica climbed out next. Childers got out last.
“We were all fine,” he said.
The man who waded into the ditch took off soon after the accident.
“I didn’t even get a chance to thank him,” Childers said.
While his family was waiting for an ambulance, another driver stopped and allowed them to sit in her truck.
But it was all a harrowing experience for the family. Childers was thankful for the help of strangers.
Unfortunately, the Kia was a total loss. The family only had liability insurance, and the company wouldn’t cover other repair costs since Childers said it would need a new motor, transmission and fuel tank.