Flash Flood Leaves Teens Terrified

Two 2020 graduates get caught in the high waters on Conway Road

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Taylor Stern

Taylor Stern's car in the flood. The police recommended she take these pictures for insurance.

Abby Prywitch, Editor-in-Chief

Most people in a life or death situation would not have an instinct to pick up their phone and start recording. However, for Cat Ke, PCH alumna and TikTok influencer, this was not the case. Ke was caught in a flash flood and got her whole experience on video.

On Aug. 9, Ke was driving through heavy rain on Conway Road near White Road on her way back home around 2 a.m. when all of the sudden water began pouring in through her car doors. Ke didn’t notice the rising water on the road ahead until it was too late to turn around. Her engine shut off and she began to hydroplane. Ke’s first reaction was to call her mom and ask her to come pick her up. 

While waiting for her mom to arrive, Ke got out of her car and tried walking to higher ground on Conway. However, the water current was too strong and she started getting pulled into the current. Ke then called 911 to rescue her. 

It was to the point where I was floating with my head bobbing up and down, and I had my arm held up high so I didn’t lose my phone while I was on the call with the operator,” Ke said. 

She was finally able to get a hold of a tree and get on her feet. While Ke’s mom and brother were trying to help rescue her, they also got caught in the flood.

In the meantime, three rescue boats were out looking for Ke, but one of them got stuck on the way. She had to flash her phone light on and off for 20 minutes so the rescuers could find her in the dark.

“My flip flops, sweatpants, underwear and purse all got taken away from the current. When they pulled me onto the boat the first thing I told them was I was pantless, then I cried into one of the rescuers’ shoulders,” Ke said.

 She had held onto the tree for about 50 minutes before getting rescued.

“After getting the boat to the non-flooded part of the street, my mom and brother were there waiting for me and I gave them a hug,” Ke said. 

This resulted in Ke’s car being totaled, but luckily, she only had a few bruises on her right arm and leg. 

Not long after this incident, Ke uploaded a video to TikTok about her experience which included pictures and videos of her throughout the flash flood experience. Her video went viral on TikTok, she received 113.0K likes and received 680.4K views.

 Little did Ke know that another Parkway Central classmate was able to see the behind the scenes of her rescue. Taylor Stern, PCH class of 2020, was in a similar situation on the same road. 

Stern was driving right outside of Green Trails South driving on White Road, headed towards Conway on her way home from a friend’s house. It took her a while to figure out what was going on since it was pitch black around 1:30 a.m. 

I thought I had just driven through a huge puddle and as soon as I realized it was more than that and it was inescapable,” Stern said. “I started panicking and immediately tried to call my mom.” 

All of a sudden she felt a big splash of water come up on the sides of her car. The water began to lift her car and she started drifting into the furthest part of the flood.

“I called my mom frantically about four times but she didn’t answer because she was asleep,” Stern said. “By the time I realized she wasn’t going to answer the water had already risen to my knees so I knew I had to call 911.” 

The police told Stern to get out and stand next to her car while she waited to be rescued. Since water had gotten into her electrical system, she could not open any of the doors or roll down the windows. Stern was just stuck in her car. By the time the officer arrived to save her, the water was up to her chest.

After ten minutes, the officer finally got to her and had to pry the door open and wedge her out. When he got Stern out of the car, all the pressure from the water flooded into her car and filled it up. 

Stern found refuge in the back of the police car for about an hour, waiting for a tow truck to come. While she was in the car, the officer got a call on his radio about another girl on Conway who needed saving.  Without telling Stern what was going on, the cop started speeding up to Conway.

Stern sat in the police car for about another two hours while over ten police cars, two fire trucks and a couple of ambulances all showed up.

“I could hear all the live updates on the radio about the girl getting saved and I watched the whole situation play out,” Stern said. “At the time I didn’t know who it was but the next morning I saw Cat’s TikTok and realized I had been there for her entire rescue.” 

Stern’s advice to anyone who gets in a similar situation would be to get out of the car as fast as you can and try to get to higher ground. She had waited too long to be able to get out of the car so she got trapped inside until help arrived. She also suggests that everyone should also keep a window-smashing tool in their car at all times in case the emergency ever comes up and you need to get out of the car. 

“I would advise to call 911 right away because as badly as I wanted my mom in the moment, she couldn’t have saved me like the police did and if I waited any longer than I did, I think I would’ve drowned,” Stern said.