7 people pulled from truck in Rhea County creek - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

7 people pulled from truck in Rhea County creek

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RHEA COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -- Several young people in Rhea County say they are thankful to be alive after the truck they were riding in was swept away in a creek early Sunday morning.

Taylor Cheek says she and her boyfriend, along with some friends, were out riding around in the wee hours of Sunday morning when they tried crossing a creek on Evensville Mountain. Little did they know it would take several hours before they could be rescued from the rushing waters.

A blue Ford Mustang sits, stuck, in the swollen waters of Piney Creek on Monday. It is the same spot where a group of friends in a pick up truck tried to cross early Sunday morning, only the waters were even higher then.

"It was a night of fun that turned into something that could have been bad -- that could have been tragic," says Rhea County EMA director Jacky Reavley.

Reavley got the call 2:30 Sunday morning that seven young people were swept away when raging waters pushed their truck of the Pine Creek Road bridge.

"It was very swift water at the time," says Reavley.

"I've never been through anything like that before and never want to again," says Cheek.

Taylor Cheek, 20, talked to Channel 3 about what happened. Her boyfriend, along with the three other guys and girls in the truck, managed to make it to shore, but Cheek was sucked under.

"That's when I just started praying," she says.

Somehow she managed to crawl into the bed of the truck, that floated down stream with her.

"And that water was just slapping me right in my face," says Cheek.

Strangers in another vehicle drove up on the scene, right as the truck washed away. They drove a couple miles until they had cell reception and called 911.

"And if it wouldn't have been for them, I don't know how I would have been saved," says Cheek.

After clinging to the truck for almost an hour rescuers were able to throw her a rope and life jacket and pulled her to safety.

"It's definitely a lesson learned, a big eye opener. God was definitely with me," she says.

"Most of the time when you hear of a vehicle in the roaring creek, the out come is not usually too good. I was very thankful that nobody was hurt or worse in this," says Reavley.

No one in the truck was seriously injured. Cheek says she is a little sore from bouncing around in the water.

About 40 rescuers and law enforcement personnel were there for the rescue operation. Reavley says it is always worth repeating: never drive through rushing water or standing water.

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