NEAR GERONIMO-- A Lawton man is absolutely certain of what he saw on Thursday morning... an SUV swept away in rushing floodwaters. It happened just east of Geronimo on New Hope Road. The man says a red SUV drove into high water over the roadway and then disappeared. He quickly alerted police and firefighters, but by the time they arrived the SUV was nowhere to be found. That prompted the Highway Patrol to launch a search from both the water and the air.
By early afternoon, authorities had not found any trace of the SUV and called off the search for it. We caught up with the man who started it all. David Edwards says he'd just finished a job when he looked to the east and saw the SUV trying to cross the water covered road. "Then when I saw the car go to the ditch and behind that tree and then I didn't see it come back out that's when I knew they were in trouble," said Edwards.
He drove to Geronimo to tell emergency crews what had happened. They in turn called in the highway patrol. Before long, search and rescuers were in the water on a fire truck. Still with no sign of the SUV, an Air Evac helicopter flew in to search from the air. After looking for a couple of hours they too couldn't find anything... making the Highway Patrol hesitant to put a boat in the water.
"That current out there is swift, tricky, and there's a lot of debris. It's dangerous to put a boat in that situation," said OHP Captain Mike McClelland.
That's when they asked David Edwards for a better description of what he saw. He says his eyes did not deceive him, but the Highway Patrol is hoping they did.
"We're thinking and hoping that he probably turned around and made it back to the other side. There's no indication we can find of a vehicle in there," said Capt. McClelland.
" 100-percent. There's no doubt in my mind what I saw," said Edwards. "It kind of makes me look like a fool, right now if they did that, but I'd rather look like a fool than have someone die out there."