Residents rescued on Bethesda Road
Two women and a child trapped by high water Thursday on Bethesda Road near FM 917 were rescued through an innovative tactic by the Johnson County Sheriff's Office.
The sheriff's MRAP, known for its military use of withstanding improvised explosive device [IED] attacks, is typically deployed for felony search warrants, but the 33-ton vehicle was used to rescue stranded motorists Thursday.
"It is heavy, and we know it would have to be some flood to wash it away," Chief Deputy Mike Powell said. "We can take it easily into four feet of water. It is, by design, an emergency rescue vehicle."
Fire departments and constables responded to the call of stranded residents at about 3:15 p.m. The occupants of the vehicle pulled to an inclined driveway after discovering the water was too high to proceed.
"They live in the area and were trying to get to town," Powell said. "This is in a low area and the water got too high, so they called for assistance. It was not safe for them to get out on their own."
The vehicle made a successful rescue possible, and the residents were given a courtesy ride home to relatives, Powell said. The responders first on scene also had to be rescued. No injuries were reported.
"We don't want anyone taking any chances," Powell said.
The women did not pass around barricades before stopping, he added.
"This is a reminder for us all. You are not only putting yourself in harm's way, you may also put our emergency responders in danger," Powell said. "We have so many areas in the county prone to flood, and then they runoff quickly."
Enough continual rainfall has been received that all low-lying areas of the county are danger areas for flooding, Powell said.
"We are really looking forward to all of this water running off and maybe getting some dry days ahead," Powell said.