Anderson City Councilman rescues man from Lauderdale County floodwaters

Two people were rescued and one woman died in the flash flooding.

Posted: Dec 30, 2019 3:54 PM
Updated: Dec 30, 2019 6:51 PM

Sunday night a woman was killed and two others rescued as flash floods made Anderson Creek swell near Highway 207.

Jenna Williams, 20, died when her car was swept off County Road 50 near Highway 207 and into Anderson Creek. After Williams' mother didn't hear from her she went to find her and she, too, was swept into the floodwaters. She was rescued by Anderson Volunteer Firefighters. Officials then pinged Williams' car and located her.

"It was gut wrenching to me because I didn't want to tell the woman right then that we found her daughter's car," said Anderson Asst. Volunteer Fire Chief Scott Childers.

The news that Williams didn't make it shook Casey Hayes to her core. She said her son and Williams went to high school together.

"He said that she was a very sweet person. That she's going to be missed. He's having a hard time right now," said Hayes.

The first water rescue of the night happened on County Road 52, less than a mile from the other water rescues. Kip Williams, no relation to Jenna Williams, had gone to his lumber yard on County Road 52 to see if the floodwaters were washing away his lumber. That's when he saw the raging water take a car a few yards downstream. Williams is also a city council member for the town of Anderson.

"The car ended up hitting a tree and turning on its side and the guy was kicking the windows," said Kip Williams.

The man in the car was Daniel Hayes.

"I was just trying to get out. Get on top of the car or something," said Hayes.

Hayes said eventually a window went down and he climbed on top of the car.

"I told him be calm and we will get him help," said Kip Williams.

Williams called 911 and ran to his shop to grab a rope. He couldn't find one and grabbed an air hose instead.

"I threw it to him and he missed it the first time. I threw it a second time and I told him to tie it around him and tie two knots in it," said Kip Williams.

Anderson volunteer firefighters along with Williams pulled Hayes through the waters to safety. Hayes said if it wasn't for Williams he wouldn't be alive.

"I was praying last night. I was just asking God to help me out of this and he did," said Hayes.

Hayes did go to the hospital just to get checked out. He said he's still pretty shaken up. Many in the community are mourning the loss of Jenna Williams. Her funeral arrangements have not been set.

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