Couple stranded in flooded car shares story

R. Jordan Road in Sanford (Photo by Shae Crisson)

February 8, 2010 8:40:29 PM PST
A Sanford couple was rescued from their flooded car Monday morning, nearly 10 hours after getting stuck.

Maisie Saulter, 77, picked up her husband from church Sunday night and despite a high water warning sign, tried to drive down R. Jordan Road. The picture above shows what the road looked like Monday after that water had receded a little.

Saulter says she thought she could make it across the flooded road, but suddenly the couple's Ford Taurus's headlights were under water.

"I went into that and that water came up over the car," Maisie Saulter said. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing."

Authorities say after the Saulter's car was stuck, water quickly started creeping into the car, forcing the couple to stay put.

"I couldn't move, I couldn't get out and all of a sudden, here comes the water onto my seat," Maisie said.

Lee County EMS Director Shane Seagroves told ABC11 Eyewitness News that the couple's car battery died sitting in the water and they had no cell phone.

Maisie Saulter says she doesn't know how to swim and when her husband Harlan tried to get out a "gush of water came right through the car."

When the sun came up, Harlan got out of the car and walked to flag someone down.

Someone called 911 around 8:30 a.m. to report that the couple was trapped.

Click here to listen to the 911 call

Mrs. Saulter was treated at Central Carolina Hospital and is expected to be okay. Mr. Harland Saulter, who is 91, was not hospitalized.

The stranger Mr. Saulter flagged down drove him home for a change of clothes and then took him to the hospital to be with his wife.

"It got down to the mid 20s last night, the water is very cold," Seagroves said. "If you look around the roads, there's still ice on the trees, and they were sitting in moving water. They are very lucky."

"Harland put his feet up on the dashboard to try to stay warm," their pastor George Stanley told ABC11. "Harland held Maisie's feet to try to keep her warm. It was in the 20's last night, they could have froze to death."

When asked how she survived the 10 hour ordeal, Maisie Saulter told first responders, "We held onto each other and onto our Bible and prayed."

"This was our thought all night long, we prayed and we were grateful for the Lord to take care of use like he did," she said.

Emergency crews say it was the second rescue they have had over the last few days. They also say the warning signs are up for a reason and drivers should never put their lives at risk by driving through flood waters.

"I pray that it'll help others that when water comes like this, that they'll watch it," Maisie Saulter said.

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