Local News

October 9, 2018 - 11:25 AM

Water from Elm Creek came precariously close to breaching the new pedestrian bridge along South Washington Avenue in Iola Monday. REGISTER/RICHARD LUKEN

High water from a series of heavy rains that started over the weekend spelled trouble for USD 257 bus driver Chad Turner and a middle school passenger Monday morning.

Turner’s bus was disabled before sunrise Monday after water from the swollen  Rock Creek got into the engine compartment.

The incident happened as Turner was crossing a bridge along 2200 Street, about two miles north of U.S. 54, or the old drive-in corner.

Superintendent of Schools Stacey Fager told the Register Turner was unable to see the water because of the headlights from an oncoming vehicle until it was too late.

The water, which was just below the vehicle’s bumper, stalled out the vehicle on top of the bridge.

Turner radioed the school district for help, to which transportation supervisor Scott Stanley and driver Gabe Gregg responded.

The water was just below knee level as Stanley and Gregg carried the passenger, a sixth-grade girl, from the bus to another vehicle.

The student’s parents were contacted, and the bus was towed to a shop, where it will be inspected and serviced to determine what damage, if any, the vehicle sustained. “Fortunately, there were no injuries,” Fager said.

Since Saturday, nearly 5½ inches of rain have fallen in Iola, according to the city’s official reporting station, including nearly 4 inches between Sunday night and Monday morning.

The storms caused water to spill from the banks of Rock Creek, Elm Creek in southern Iola and the Neosho River.

Other areas of the state received even more rain, with schools in Crest, Anderson County and Prairie View districts canceled or delayed because of the flooding Monday and today.

Forecasts called for rainy weather to persist throughout today — severe storms are possible this afternoon and tonight — before dryer and cooler weather arrives Wednesday.