Three people drowned early Sunday morning when their car went into Pottinger Creek near the Rolling Fork River and New Haven.
The deceased have been identified as Don Paul Allen, 61, of Raywick; Chris Gray, 51, of Campbellsville; and the driver, Cindy Newberry, 36, of Gravel Switch.
Two other passengers, Newberry’s husband, Jason Newberry, 40, and Debbie Puyera, 48, of Campbellsville, escaped and went for help, but by the time rescuers got there, the car had been swept further into the creek and was submerged with the victims trapped inside.
“These folks were all identified by family members,” Nelson County Coroner Field Houghlin said Monday morning. At the time he was unable to provide any identification other than the names of the three victims and the driver's husband.
“None of them are from Nelson County,” he said.
Just before noon Monday, the Nelson County Sheriff's Office was able to provide the addresses and birth dates of the five people.
According to the Nelson County Sheriff's Office, Cindy Newberry was driving on Dee Head Road from Walter Hall Road to New Hope and encountered high water in an attempt to cross a bridge. She was unable to get the 2007 Ford Explorer out of the water, and the fast-moving current swept the vehicle off the bridge and into the swollen creek.
She, Gray and Allen were unable to get out, but Puyera and Jason Newberry escaped through a rear window and were transported to Flaget Memorial Hospital in Bardstown for evaluation and treatment of hypothermia.
The Nelson County Coroner's Office transported the bodies of the three victims.
Nelson Deputy Sheriff Richard Jones investigated the incident.
Kentucky Emergency Management officials reported that four people died in separate drowning incidents in Kentucky during the storms Saturday night and Sunday morning.
The other drowning happened in Carroll County along Gilgal Road near Carrollton, when a person was trapped beneath an all-terrain vehicle that overturned in a creek. The victim’s body was recovered and turned over to the Carroll County coroner for identification. The Carroll County Sheriff's Office said Monday morning it could not yet release any information about the victim.
Early news reports said the Nelson County fatal accident occurred in the Rolling Fork River near New Hope. However, it happened in Pottinger Creek about a mile and a half from the river, according to Nelson County Emergency Management Director Joe Prewitt.
Prewitt said those who participated in the attempted rescue and recovery included swift water teams from Taylor and Green counties and firefighters from Bardstown-Nelson County, New Hope, Rolling Fork and Marion County, emergency managers from Marion, Taylor, LaRue and Nelson counties, Nelson sheriff’s deputies, Nelson County EMS and a special airborne group from the Kentucky National Guard.
“This is such a tragic loss," Prewitt said in a statement released Sunday. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims’ families. This is a stark reminder why we caution people never to drive through, walk through or allow children to play in flood waters.”
Streams remained high Monday after storms brought high wind and heavy rain statewide Saturday night and into Sunday, and several flood warnings remained in effect, including one for the Rolling Fork River near Boston.
High winds caused power outages, and wind damage to trees and buildings around Kentucky overnight.