An Arkansas sheriff was among three killed when a flash flood swamped Scott County while he and and a wildlife officer were checking on reports that residents of a home might be in danger from the rising waters, a spokesman for the state Game and Fish Commission said Friday.
Separately, a man died after strong winds toppled a tree onto his car in Tull, just west of Little Rock. Authorities also are attributing the death of a woman in Scott County to the flooding, though they have released no information other than her body was found in her car.
The body of Sheriff Cody Carpenter was recovered Friday morning, Game and Fish spokesman Keith Stephens said. The wildlife officer, Joel Campora, was still missing.
"We are still in a search-and-rescue mode for our wildlife officer," Stephens said.
Carpenter and Campora were responding to a 911 call at a home in the Y City area near the Fourche La Fave River, authorities said. The two then got out of the boat and went inside a home to help two female victims. Authorities can't confirm or deny if the women have been found.
Authorities have recovered the boat and motor, both had received substantial damage. They also found one life jacket. Stephens says he's certain Carpenter and Campora were wearing their life jackets.
Sheriff Cody Carpenter of Scott County, Ark., whose body was found May 31, 2013, after responding to a 911 call during severe storms.(Photo: Arkansas Sheriff's Association)
Around 6 inches of rain fell Thursday night and early Friday in Scott County, on Arkansas' western border about 150 miles west of Little Rock. The Fourche La Fave River, which cuts through steep terrain, rose sharply, swamping U.S. 71 for a time.
"The water just comes off that hill like someone is pouring a bucket in there," said Danny Straessle, a spokesman for the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department. "This was an incredible amount of water."
Data from the National Weather Service show the Fourche La Fave jumped 23 feet overnight to 26 feet at Gravelly, 24 miles downstream from Y City. A crest was expected Friday afternoon at 26.5 feet, 2½ feet above flood stage.
Highway crews shut down U.S. 71 between Mena and Waldron from 1:30 a.m. Friday until late morning. Initially after the water went down, the road was kept closed to let first responders search for the missing
Bridge inspectors were dispatched to the area. The U.S. 71 bridge was built in the 1980s and is expected to be in good shape, but will be inspected anyway, Straessle said. Inspectors will also look at the Arkansas 28 bridge over the Fourche La Fave near Parks and the Arkansas 88 bridge over the Ouachita River east of Mena, he said. Those bridges were built in the 1950s.
Inspectors had reviewed photos of the bridges after the flood and determined they could remain open.
Scott County Judge James Forbes said this is the worst flood he's seen in the 21 years he's lived in the county.
Carpenter had been with the Scott County Sheriff's Office since 1997 and was elected sheriff in 2004.
Agency: Scott County Sheriff's Department
EOW: Friday, May 31, 2013
Contributing: Lindsey Tugman, KTHV-TV, Little Rock, Ark.
content courtesty of: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/05/31/arkansas-flood-kills-shelby-county-sheriff/2376269/