LAUREL, Ind – At approximately 5 a.m. Friday (3/20/20) Franklin County 911 received a call from a witness who reported seeing headlights off the roadway and hearing calls for help coming from Sanes Creek.
When first responders arrived they discovered the bridge over Sanes Creek had been partially washed away after the area had received nearly 3 inches of rain.
A van and a pickup truck carrying the victims had been swept off the roadway.
In all six people perished.
It is presumed that all drowned. Autopsies are scheduled.
The victims from one vehicle have been identified as 47 year old Shawn Roberts, and 48 year old Burton Spurlock who were both from Laurel. The victims from the second vehicle have been identified as 35 year old Felina Lewis, of Laurel and three juveniles, ages 13, 7 and 4.
Indiana Conservation Officer Josh Thomas said the creek, a tributary of the Whitewater River, quickly surged into a torrent in the region, which has many steep ridges and valleys that are prone to flooding during heavy rainfall. It’s unclear whether the vehicles were washed into the creek at the same time or separately.
He said all of the victims’ bodies were found along the creek and not in the vehicles.
Franklin County is in southeast Indiana near Cincinnati.
DNR provided photo