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WATER VALLEY – The Yalobusha County Board of Supervisors declared a local state of emergency Tuesday afternoon following flash flooding that had dumped over six inches of rain by early afternoon with more to come.
“I can’t say enough about our first responders, our sheriff’s department, police officers and volunteer fire fighters,” Board President Cayce Washington noted during the emergency meeting. “Those guys have been out all morning saving folks. I feel like it is going to be a long night for a lot of folks,” he added.
Supervisors reported downed trees in some areas of the county, as well as roads and bridges that were flooded. Homes were also flooded in some areas of the county.
One of the most serious incidents from the flooding was on County Road 224 east of Water Valley. Just before noon the runoff from the heavy rain washed out a culvert, creating a gaping 20-foot hole in the road. Two people were injured when they rounded a curve in the road and crashed into the rain-swollen creek.
Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks conservation officer Austin Tallent was first on the scene.
“I was glad I had a big rope in my truck,” Tallent said minutes after a life-saving effort by first responders to rescue the female occupant who had been trapped in the vehicle. Tallent jumped down the bank into the rain-swollen creek to reach the injured woman in the truck. He was able to attach a rope to her and first responders including Chief Deputy Jerimaine Gooch, deputy Tyler Wortham, George Crocker, Lee Crocker, Brandon Crocker and Stewart Spence helped Tallent pull her up the bank to an awaiting ambulance.
“Austin is the one who really saved her,” Lee Crocker noted later in the day about the rescue. “She was still trapped in the truck when I got there.”
Yalobusha EMA Director Dalton Coleman reported the female patient sustained trauma and lacerations and was transported emergency status to North Mississippi Regional Center in Tupelo. The male occupant sustained moderate injuries and was also transported by a second ambulance.
Hours earlier a city police department officer was also involved in a water rescue on Lee Street. Officer Steve Story responded after the vehicle stalled out after entering water several feet deep. Story waded through the fast-moving water to the car to pick up the female occupant and bring her to safety. Story was assisted by Shelly Freeman and Keith Turner, who attached a rope to him as a safety net during the rescue. The driver was not injured.