Crime & Courts

Two missing, 3 rescued, 1 arrested after Kansas flood sweeps vehicle off road

Heavy storms roll through central Kansas

Heavy storms rolled through central Kansas on Tuesday, May 7, 2019.
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Heavy storms rolled through central Kansas on Tuesday, May 7, 2019.

Authorities searched for two missing people who got out of a vehicle that was swept off the road early Saturday morning by a flood near Emporia.

The search was shut down Saturday afternoon, and the two missing people were not believed to be in the flood waters, according to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office.

Three people in the vehicle, including a pregnant teen, were rescued, and a bystander who went into the water after the vehicle was arrested, according to a news release from the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office.

Storms battered Kansas earlier in the week, causing widespread flash floods. Most creeks and rivers were overflowing above flood stage levels, closing major highways and flooding crops. Some bodies of water ran over the tops of roadways.

At 4:33 a.m. Saturday, Lyon County Sherrif’s deputies were dispatched to the area of Road J and Road 160, an intersection just south of Emporia near the Cottonwood River, for a call about a vehicle in the water.

The Cottonwood River near Emporia had record flooding Thursday, at 26.17 feet and was still running at least 5 feet higher than the National Weather Service flood stage Saturday morning, according to United States Geological Survey data.

Robert Hise, an 18-year-old Emporia native who was in the area on a bike when deputies got there, told them the vehicle had people in it, according to the news release.

Hise tried to go into the water after the car but was told not to, the release said. He ignored the commands, the release stated, and was arrested for allegedly obstructing legal process/interference with law enforcement.

After Hise was “secured,” Emporia firefighters and Lyon County EMS water rescue were called out to the scene. They were able to get to the vehicle by boat and found three people inside, the release said.

At least two of the three people rescued are from Wichita: Noah Kanyizere, 24, and Jay Howe, 18. A pregnant 17-year-old, who was not identified in the release, was also rescued.

After they were rescued, they told deputies that two others had been in the vehicle with them and had left it at about 2 a.m. Lyon County described them in the news release as an unidentified female and a male named Austin.

It appeared the vehicle had driven around a barricade on the road. An aerial search with a drone did not locate the two missing occupants, and the situation is still under investigation, the release stated.

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