East Texas family rescued after floodwaters carry them off road

Local News

GRAPELAND, Texas (KETK) – A Grapeland family was rescued by first responders after getting trapped in flood waters that carried them off the road and filled their car.

The Kelly family left their Houston County home early in the morning to take a trip to South Carolina. As they left, they say they could hardly see through the rainfall and lack of lights. That’s when their car hit water and got stuck.

“When the water started pouring into the car, I realized ‘wait a minute, I’m not going to make it, it’s going too fast. I’ll die if I get out,'” Lorelie Kelly said.

The current whisked them away off FM 228, causing them to crash into a fence roughly two miles east of the city.

When water started rushing into the SUV, the family was forced to escape through the sunroof.

“The only thing you can do in that situation is get up on top of the car, try not to move,” Frank Kelly said.

With no cell phone signal and nobody around, the family would have been out of options if Lorelei hadn’t remembered an important feature of her phone.

“About that time, that’s when a little voice in my head reminded me about an iPhone thing, that if you don’t have any signal, you can hit it five times, and it will call an emergency line for you, which it did,” Lorelie said.

With many iPhones, hitting the power button five times will create an Emergency SOS screen on your device. If you do not hit cancel within three seconds, the phone will automatically call emergency services.

At that point, help was on the way, but there was still a problem. Frank is a disabled veteran who lost his bionic leg during the rescue, making the situation that much harder. Frank said it may be months before he gets a replacement.

The Grapeland Fire Department was able to rescue them in about an hour and a half. Though their car remains just off the road, both Frank and Lorelei are safe.

“The fact that we’re standing here alive looking at it. That’s just God right there,” Lorelei said.

Grapeland was bombarded by rain on Memorial Day with the National Weather Service reporting that they endured 11.5 inches of rain in just the past 24 hours.

The rain will not be going away anytime soon either. The East Texas Storm team predicts that at least six of the next seven days have at least a 40% chance of wet weather.

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