Emergency responders in southern Putnam County were busy with two separate water rescues this weekend.
Excessive rainfall in the last few weeks has led to flooding along Doe Creek which feeds nearby Cataract Lake reservoir. Several low-lying roads in the area have become flooded in recent days.
"It happens every year," DNR Conservation Officer Steve Westell told the BannerGraphic Monday morning. "There are several low-lying roads in the area that flood when the reservoir backs up."
At around 10 p.m. Sunday, Cloverdale Township firefighters were dispatched to a car in the water on CR 1275 South, just north of Ind. 42.
Firefighters arrived to find 19-year-old Wesley Evans, Cloverdale, trapped inside his 2002 Ford Mustang which was upside down in the water.
Fire Chief Kerry Shepherd said Evans' car was about 70 feet from the edge of the water and was completely submerged when firefighters arrived on the scene.
Firefighters used a rescue boat to reach Evans and pulled him from the vehicle unharmed.
"He was really cold from being in the frigid waters, but he wasn't hurt," Shepherd said.
Shepherd said he believed Evans could not see the water in the darkness and drove into it before he knew what was happening.
Then this morning, a second vehicle went into the water in the same general area.
Rescue personnel on the scene said Mark McKinney was driving with his son on CR 1125 South near Meridian Line Road early this morning when he drove his truck into the flood water.
A man living nearby named Leeroy Patton used his amphibious vehicle to drive into the flooded area and help Cloverdale Township firefighters rescue the man and his son who were on the way to the child's daycare.
Westell said he was glad Patton was able to help this morning since he had trouble launching his rescue boat the previous night.
"That type of vehicle is excellent for a situation like this," Westell said.
In light of the recent accidents, firefighters and DNR officials are warning the public that they should not drive their vehicles in areas where water covers the roadway.
"We want to let people know that they should really stay away from these areas," Shepherd said. "The water is still on its way up."
Westell issued a similar warning.
"The best advice I can give is if you encounter water over the roadway, you just need to turn around," he said.
Unfortunately local residents tend to ignore those warnings by moving barricades and driving past high water signs, he said.
"People always think they can make it," Westell said. "Even when we put the signs and barricades up, people still attempt things."
The roads that were known to be flooded as of Monday morning were: Meridian Line Road near the lake; CR 1250 South, heading east from Ind. 243; and CR 1300 South, just off Ind. 42.
"All those roads dead end into the water," Westell said.
He said he did not know how long they would be closed, but more rain is on the way later this week.
Peggy Torr, Putnam County's official observer for the National Weather Service, said she recorded a total of 5.72 inches of rain in December and 1.47 inches so far this month.