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Laurel woman rescued during flooding in Johnson County

Mountain Electric Cooperative linemen Rick Courtner and Cody Bryant use a bucket truck to rescue Cathy Souder of Laurel Bloomery, who got trapped in her vehicle during the recent flooding in Johnson County, TN. Submitted photo

By Tamas Mondovics

A Laurel Bloomery woman is now counting her blessing and thanking all those that came to her rescue during an accident that got her up close and personal with the dangers of flash flooding in Johnson County last week.

“I am just fortunate to be here today,” said Cathy Souder as she recounted her ordeal of being rescued. “They saved my life.”

According to officials, Souder was driving last Thursday, on SR 91 just north of the Old Mill Music Park when a tree came down and hit her car. The impact forced the vehicle off the road, over the guardrail into the flooded Laurel Creek that runs alongside the roadway.
After turning her truck backward, the floodwaters carried Souder’s vehicle approximately 300 yards before becoming lodged on a rock, only yards away from a bridge that could have made the situation much worse.

“It took nearly an hour and a half before rescuers could get me safely out of my car,” she said.

While her car was badly damaged, Souder sustained only some minor injuries consisting of some cuts and bruises.

In appreciation to all those that came to her rescue Souder said, “I would like to thank all the people that helped with the Lord to save my life last Thursday, after a tree came down and threw me through the guardrail, turned me around before my car stopped on a rock,” Souder said. “I thank you, dear God, and for everyone at the fire department trying to help me, including the police, rescue squad, and the young man from the Sheriff’s Office as well as the young lady praying for me. Just God bless to everyone. But my heroes are Rick Courtner and Cody Bryant and their bucket for saving me. Our small community was there for me, and I will always be grateful.”

The accident is a clear reminder to all motorists to be alert of the dangers on the roadways during a severe weather event.