Log Out | Member Center

67°F

86°/65°

Officers rescue woman, children in Big Ditch

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, at 12:09 p.m.

Investigators are possibly pursuing child endangerment or trespassing charges in an incident late Monday and early Tuesday in which a woman became stranded with three young children in the Big Ditch, a Sedgwick County sheriff’s official said Wednesday.

Dozens of officers were involved in the rescue of the woman and children, sheriff’s Lt. David Mattingly said.

He gave this account: At 11:45 p.m. Monday, Wichita police asked sheriff’s deputies to help them find several people reported to be stuck in the Wichita/Valley Center Floodway, commonly known as the Big Ditch. A Wichita man had been driving a truck in the drainage ditch and got stuck. About 7 p.m. he called a woman to pick him up at the canoe-launch area at 3100 E. 71st St. South.

The woman reportedly brought a 4-year-old, 2-year-old and 10-month-old with her and got stuck as well. The man managed to get out on his own.

About 4:45 a.m., the police helicopter found the woman and children, and a sheriff’s ATV brought them out. The woman and children had stayed in a van with the headlights on, which helped the helicopter find them. The woman didn’t have a cellphone, Mattingly said.

She is not the mother of the children, he said.

It’s dangerous to drive in the flood-control ditch because vehicles can have accidents, he said. Also, the ditch wasn’t designed for off-road driving, which can damage the structure, he said.

People who trespass there can receive a $500 citation, Mattingly said.

Still, he noted, people have been illegally driving in the ditch for decades.

Subscribe to our newsletters

The Wichita Eagle welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views. Please see our commenting policy for more information.

Have a news tip? You can send it to wenews@wichitaeagle.com.

Search for a job

in

Top jobs