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Flood waters claim life of Shelby man

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By Kelly Neumeyer

A Shelby County man died Monday after swift waters swept his vehicle off of a flooded bridge in Spencer County.

Shelby County Fire Chief Nathan Nation said Jorge Luis Cante Jr. was attempting to cross the bridge. Three other family members were also in the vehicle but were rescued safely.

Nation said rescuers recovered Cante’s body around 8 a.m. Monday after a Spencer County resident discovered the victim near Creek Valley Road approximately one mile from where the vehicle entered the creek.

Emergency workers received a call at 1:42 a.m. Monday that rushing water forced the vehicle off the roadway and into the creek, reports say.

Taylorsville-Spencer County firefighters pulled an adult female from the water early Monday morning, and they located and retrieved one child nearly 1/4-mile downstream from the water’s bank, Nation said. A KSP Trooper later located the second child also on the stream bank, Nation said.

“It was my understanding after talking to those involved with the incident that there may have been debate in the car whether it was a good idea to cross the creek or not,” Nation said. “But the gentleman who was driving decided to go ahead and cross the creek, so I believe they were aware it was flooded.”

The vehicle was found early about 250 feet from the bridge and is still in the creek as of Tuesday afternoon, Nation said.

“The other family members are doing fine and they weren’t transported from the scene for any medical attention,” Nation said.

The two children were able to make it to shore on their own downstream. The mother was about 20 feet from the vehicle holding on to a tree and rescuers reached her by using a throw bag, which is a bag containing a rope that an endangered person can grab, Nation said.

“It is not how deep the water is but it was how swift the current was,” Nation said. “On a typical summer day that creek would only have a few inches of water, but with the flash flooding and heavy rains we’ve had in a short amount of time the water rose rapidly and was traveling fast making it a very dangerous situation.

“It’s a miracle the other three did survive.”

While the bridge has been improved in recent years, it is designed to do what it did by allowing water to flow over the top during a flood. The road on both sides of the bridge is marked with signage warning that the area is prone to flooding, Nation said.  

Rushing water and lack of daylight halted rescue efforts for Cante until later Monday morning.

The family had spent the previous day celebrating Father’s Day, reports said.