(WJLA) - Here on the bridge where Clark County meets Frederick Count is the Virginia Line. The water is typically calm and peaceful, but on Friday after the heavy rain and flooding, it was anything but.
Michael Smith lives just down the street, and saw all of the emergency crews early Friday morning, desperately searching for a driver who tried to cross the flooded bridge and was swept downstream around 4:20 a.m.
The victim was able to call 911 and tell dispatchers that his truck was quickly filling up with water – before his phone died.
According to officers, Jefferson County did an emergency ping of the phone from the number that was displayed, and it came back to the 1600 block of Old Charles Town Road.
Authorities say the water in the Opequon Creek rose 15 feet, but because of the extreme flooding and darkness, rescue crews could not see any sign of the driver.
They conducted another search once the sun came out that morning, and it wasn’t until that next day that rescuers were finally able to locate 23-year-old Bryan Sears, who was found inside his truck about 300 yards away from the bridge.
Smith says he felt firsthand just how quickly things can change when he tried to enter the water to save some of his crops:
“I’m 220 pounds, I thought I’d be fine out there just walking out, but as soon as I lost my footing, if I wasn’t holding on to the lay flat, I would have swept down the current.”
The tragedy is proving just how dangerous it can be to drive through a flooded area.