Flash flooding traps multiple people in cars in Danville

Multiple people got stuck on Riverside Drive trying to drive through the water

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

DANVILLE, Va. - Overnight flash flooding in Danville trapped multiple people in their cars.

Shortly after midnight, Riverside Drive between Audubon Drive and Arnett Boulevard was under several feet of water.

Danville firefighters, police officers, and members of the Danville Life Saving Crew were at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Arnett Boulevard directing traffic and helping people trapped in the floodwater.

Janette Staton got stuck in her car on Riverside Drive trying to rescue her roommate.

"I got a phone call from my roommate. He said he was in trouble on Riverside Drive. He was flooded out and needed help, so I came to pick him up in the Jeep. I started driving and I looked, I was a little scared, but the next thing I know water was coming over the hood of my car and I was jumping out the window," Staton said.

After abandoning her car, she was able to get to her roommate. She and her roommate took refuge in the parking lot of Motley's Auto Sales at the corner of Arnett Boulevard and Riverside Drive.

"I thought I was in a lot of trouble," Staton said when asked what she thought when she got out of her car. "I've never seen water like this this high in Danville before."

She said she tried to drive through the water because she didn't realize how deep it was.

Mikayla Walton was coming home from work when she got stuck in the water on Riverside Drive.

"I saw a couple of cars in front of me stop, so I started to stop, too," Walton said. "I didn't know why they were stopping. I saw some water on the road and I really didn't know that it was this deep."

When the cars in front of her started to turn around, she did likewise but the water started carrying her car away.

"There was so much water that I started to drift the other way. My car was still on, (but) there was nothing I could do. I tried to give it gas and it would not go anywhere," Walton said.

Luckily, a good samaritan came to her rescue.

"Some guy pulled up beside me, pulled me out of my car window and just rescued me. I was so scared. I did not know what to do. I never thought I would be one of those people that was stuck in something like this," Walton said.

She said she didn't want to leave her car, but she knew she had to get out of it.

"The water kept rising. It started at my feet, then it was rising up to my knees, rising up to my waist," Walton said.

She and the good samiritan walked to Motley's Auto Sales, where she said her mother was waiting for her.

At one point during the walk, the water was over her chest.

"I looked in my car, my windshield wipers were still going. I was trying to cut those off, cut my lights off, and (they) would not even cut off," Walton said. "(My car is) completely under water."

Cars were also partially submerged on Timberlake Dr., but no one had to be rescued from them.

The National Weather Service said homes were evacuated and there were other problems overnight into Saturday morning.

The NWS said the following: A home collapsed on Water Street and the people living inside evacuated. Edwards Branch flooded on Fall Creek Drive and two homes were evacuated. There was high water from Little Sandy Creek that caused a vehicle to get stuck in the water, and a tree fell on a house and a road was washed out in other areas.

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