SCDOT will inspect road after vehicle plunges into creek

News 12 First at Five / Tuesday, July 1, 2013

WARD, S.C. (WRDW) -- It was an impressive rescue but a more impressive story of survival.

"I just couldn't believe she was alive through this. It was just miraculous," said Bill Bange, whose daughter Reanna barely escaped drowning while trapped inside her vehicle.

On Sunday evening, Reanna hydroplaned off S.C. 193 near Thunder Road in Ward, plunged down into a culvert and floated her car a football field length down a creek. Her vehicle ultimately overturned, and she was left with just a couple inches of air to breathe until, amazingly, her brother swam and rescued her.

"You just can't put it into words what a relief it was," Bill said. "By the time we got here, they were coming up through the woods, and she was walking out, you know. Thank God."

But now, Bill wants a fix for the portion of the road that he says is flat-out dangerous. The drop from the road down to the culvert is at least 16 feet.

"This is a huge ravine for a car to just, you know? And there's not a guardrail here? I just can't even believe that the state hasn't stepped up and done something to protect this," Bill said.

On Tuesday, News 12 showed video of the problem to South Carolina State Sen. Shane Massey.

"It does look like it's a situation where maybe we need to ask the Department of Transportation to go out there and look and examine the area and see if there's anything they can do," Massey said.

Massey has already made the call. If the SCDOT says the portion of the road is dangerous, Massey says he hopes a fix will happen soon.

"But I've never seen a situation where someone actually leaves the roadway, falls down a pretty steep hill and then ends up in water," Massey said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Massey told News 12 that he has spoken with the SCDOT office in Saluda County. He says workers will soon survey the road to see what is needed. If they find that a guardrail is needed, Massey is told that certain emergency funds could possibly be used. Massey also says that SCDOT workers will talk to neighbors to see if flooding on that road has become a problem. There is a nearby pond that is actually on a higher altitude than the road itself. Massey says once SCDOT workers visit the site, then they'll possibly engineer a solution.

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