Good Samaritan recalls deadly washout rescue on Highway 30 - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports


Good Samaritan recalls deadly washout rescue on Highway 30

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It's been nearly a week since two cars were swept away in deadly flood waters after a section of Highway 30 washed out in Rhea County. The road re-opened on Tuesday after TDOT made emergency repairs to the culvert over several days.

A Good Samaritan managed to pull one man to safety, but 22-year-old Dakota Howard died in the strong currents.

Adam Sims tried to rescue the two men who were stranded after the road washed out. Sims told Channel 3 that neighbors have been concerned about the roadway for a while.

READ MORE | Rhea Co. road washes out after storms, one killed, two injured

The Rhea County resident was driving down the road and saw two men stranded in the flood waters, shouting for help. Fighting the strong currents, Sims was able to rescue Howard's friend, 22-year-old Dustin Smith.

"I'm not a hero. I'm just doing what God's people are supposed to do," he said.

Sims lives right down the road from the washout, and said residents have been concerned for some time.

"Approximately a month ago, I called the State of Tennessee because I felt the road give when I drove over it," Sims explained.

TDOT confirms a neighbor contacted their local maintenance office about concerns with the culvert's flooding issues.

Earlier this month, TDOT bridge inspectors rated the structure as "fair."

"If we had considered the structure to be unsafe, we would have closed it," said TDOT spokesperson Jennifer Flynn. "The culvert was simply overwhelmed by an extreme amount of rainfall in a very short time."

Sims says he's still shaken up by everything that has happened.

"This is not about saving anyone's life. It has taken someone to die to get this road attended to," he said.

TDOT has proposed a project that would replace the culvert and improve the roadway, but that may not happen for several years and is contingent on funding.

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