Vehicle crashes in flood waters killing a woman, passerby saves child clinging to a tree

Published: Aug. 14, 2016 at 10:23 PM CDT
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UPDATE: Officials have released the identity of the woman: Odartha Hoggatt, 57 of Leesville.

Original Story:

A flooded road in Hineston caused a woman and a small child to lose control of their vehicle and be swept off the road. Officials said the woman drowned, but an act of heroism saved the child.

"They came out here just looking at the water, and they could hear the baby screaming," said Aaron Jenkins, father of a rescuer.

Sometime early Sunday afternoon, a car was washed off Big Creek Rd. by rushing flood-waters. Two women, out for a walk, had no idea that anything was out of the ordinary.

"The car was out of sight,” said Jenkins. “I never saw the car."

And with the victims out of sight, the two women initially thought the sound they heard could be a cat screaming in the distance.

"So she went down to see if it was actually somebody in trouble, or just some kids playing or something," said Jenkins.

Jenkin’s said his daughter waded into the water to investigate, and saw a young child hanging onto a limb. He said the water was deep and she had to swim out to get him.

The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office called the women heroes for their quick and brave response. Arron Jenkins was proud.

"Yes. Very, very," said Jenkins.

Jenkins also played a part in the rescue; he rigged up his boat and came to his daughter and the child's aid as quickly as he could.

"Backed my truck into the water, and some of the first responders had got here and helped me unload the boat," said Jenkins.

Jenkins estimated the process took about thirty minutes.

"Got her and the baby, and she was holding onto a tree and holding the baby up out of the water," said Jenkins.

The child was brought to safety and after an initial examination said to be in good condition, unfortunately, the unidentified elderly woman passed away.

"The Grandmother, she was drowned, lying beside him," said Jenkins.

The Sheriff’s Office said they believe the adult and child escaped their sinking car, but were washed into the Big Creek. It is unclear how long the child clung to a tree before his cries were heard.

"That’s quite a feat for him just to be four years old," said Jenkins.

During this time of flooding, the Sheriff's Office warns to be cautious of water that can so easily and unexpectedly sweep away a vehicle.