“Turn around, don’t drown!” is the public safety slogan when flooding is a concern.
A woman apparently forgot this warning March 5 when she tried to cross Cibolo Creek on C.R. 352 near La Vernia, after persistent rains across the area. She soon found herself and her car being swept along in deep, rushing water and dialed 9-1-1.
New Berlin Volunteer Fire Department Chief Kurt Strey said the call went out at 1:59 p.m.
“We were only about a mile and a half away from the crossing,” he said. “We were the first on the scene.”
The New Berlin volunteers couldn’t see the car from the crossing, so Strey drove upstream on Airpark Drive, which runs parallel to the creek, while his second unit drove downstream.
“The second crew found the vehicle with only about a foot sticking out of the water,” he said. “It was about 15 feet from the bank, which was very steep.”
Assistant Chief Charlie Mills, deploying a rope system, waded out to the vehicle and got on top of it, Strey said. Mills broke out the back window, got the woman out, and put a personal flotation device on her.
By this time, other first responders were on hand to safely bring both the woman and Mills to solid ground.
“It took only 6 minutes from the time he entered the water until the rescue was made,” Strey said.
La Vernia Emergency Medical Services personnel treated the woman at the scene before a family member took her home.
Also responding were members of the La Vernia, Marion, and Stockdale volunteer fire departments; Wilson and Guadalupe county sheriff’s offices; Seguin emergency medical services; and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.
The woman may face charges from the Guadalupe County Sheriff’s Office for driving around a barricade.
“I don’t know any other way to say it,” Strey said. “If there is water over the road, don’t try to cross it.”