Ten rescued in and around Mitchell on Thursday night, Friday morning
First responders rescued 10 people in four water-related events between Thursday night and Friday morning within Mitchell and farther south.
Those rescued in the approximately 15-hour period included four who drove around barricades, three who were stranded in high water and three who became trapped when their homes became surrounded by water.
The latter three, who were picked up by rescue boat Friday morning from two homes on Loma Linda Drive in Mitchell, said they might not have had to be rescued if the city had previously addressed issues with a nearby city-owned pond, from which water has been flooding south into their trailer park for the latter part of the week.
"We have documentation that that was supposed to be done four years ago, and it hasn't been done," said Debra Olson, one of the people who evacuated Friday. "So now we're losing our homes because of it."
Brandi Olson-Morgan, Debra Olson and Chad Olson decided it was time to evacuate their two homes on Loma Linda Drive Friday morning, and Mitchell Fire and Rescue brought them, some of their belongings and Olson-Morgan's dog, Kia, to drier ground.
After waking up to find that the water around her house had risen at least six inches since Thursday and had begun to pool in her floor vents, Olson-Morgan called the Salvation Army, who contacted the Davison County Office of Emergency Management.
Olson-Morgan sent her children to stay with friends earlier this week. She and the Olsons -- her mother and brother -- spent a full day unable to leave their homes before deciding they had to get out.
The majority of their possessions and several cats were left behind as water continues to rise, and they're hoping some of their belongings can be salvaged once they're able to return home.
"It's heartbreaking," Olson-Morgan said. "Even though it's just stuff, and stuff is replaceable, it's not just stuff: it's memories; it's sentimental; it's our lives."
Several Loma Linda residents, who said a large majority of the park's residents had not evacuated as of Friday morning, said with frustration that they had called the Davison County Office of Emergency Management several times Thursday and Friday, but no one answered the phone. They also said that when they reached out to other city and county agencies, they were referred back to emergency management.
Two crash after driving around barricades
At 6:38 p.m. Thursday, The Daily Republic first heard reports of a crash on S.D. Highway 37 south of 258th Street over a police scanner. According to Davison County Emergency Manager Jeff Bathke, a vehicle that an elderly woman had driven around barricades on the Enemy Creek bridge was pinned against the bridge's east guardrail by a rapid current.
Mitchell Fire and Rescue used its ladder truck to reach the vehicle, break its back window and safely extract the driver, who was the only occupant, at about 8:30 p.m. The Davison County Sheriff's Office and Davison County Search and Rescue assisted.
"She's very lucky to be alive," Bathke told The Daily Republic on Friday.
Another crash at 3 a.m. Friday injured three people and was handled by the South Dakota Highway Patrol.
According to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, 22-year-old Trevor Renelt was driving a 1999 Ford F150 north on 413th Avenue in Hanson County, 5 miles southeast of Mitchell, when he drove around a road closure sign and hit a washed-out culvert.
Renelt, who was not wearing a seat belt, sustained serious, non-life threatening injuries. The two female passengers, 19 and 21 both sustained minor injuries.
The 21-year-old was wearing a seat belt, and she and Renelt were taken to the Mitchell hospital. The other passenger refused treatment. Charges are pending against Renelt.
Three stranded, detained
Immediately following the rescue of the woman on the Enemy Creek bridge, three people were reported as being stranded on 409th Street south of Mitchell.
Bathke said a man walking through water with two children and a flashlight on the same street told him that a woman and two other people were about 3 miles south.
High water prevented Davison County Search and Rescue from reaching the three people from the north or west, and the Ethan Fire Department got them from the south.
They were taken to the hospital in Parkston and were later turned over to law enforcement in connection with alleged criminal activity, which Bathke said involved breaking into a house near where they became stranded.
Bathke said he's unsure if the three people were arrested, but that he last saw them in handcuffs as they were detained by Parkston police. Parkson Police Chief Corrinna Wagner said they were checked out and kept overnight in Parkston because there wasn't a safe route back to Mitchell, but that they were not arrested and have since gone back to Mitchell.
"Today and the whole weekend will probably be this," Bathke said Friday, referencing the rescue scene at Loma Linda. "We're lucky enough that we have two dive teams and two rescue boats."