“Turn around, don’t drown.” It’s something that you hear all of the time when there’s a flash flood warning but how many actually heed these warnings?
On the night of Feb. 6, Kallie Byram found out just how important these warnings are.
I think that people need to be more aware, because you hear flash flood warnings all the time and you don’t think anything of it because most of the time, it’s nothing but when it is, you don’t realize that until you’re in a situation like I was in,” said Byram.
Byram was driving with her boyfriend and 3-year-old daughter along Highway 70.
They reached the area where the highway is intersected by North Charlotte Street.
The vehicle in front of them went through the water just fine. Byram’s car, however, did not.
That night in Dickson, more than seven inches of rain fell leading to flash flood warnings across all of Dickson County.
Bryam’s car stalled out in the water. She decided to call a friend to help to pull her vehicle out of the water.
Shortly after that call, the car began to move as the water rushed in. All three occupants decided to get out.
Bryam’s boyfriend and daughter made it safely out, but Bryam was swept away after tripping and falling.
The swift current dragged her quickly under. Byram described the water as very cold and dark.
In all of the chaos, she was able to grab onto a culvert, which was what saved her life. The culvert leads to a 250-yard pipe that goes underneath the highway. Had she let go, she would have traveled the entire 250 yards through the pipe.
“I had already started saying my prayers. I was about to let go because I was about to pass out from holding my breath for so long. So I was about to let go and the insurance adjuster for the county wound up pulling me out of the water. Three times to get me out. He said it was like a whirlpool, it was just whirling around.”
The situation was dire but help was on the way. Both County Mayor Bob Rial and Kyle Ruf, chairman of the Water Authority of Dickson County and the Insurance Adjuster for the county were watching the events unfold from the nearby Traditions Bank parking lot.
It was Ruf who pulled Bryam out of the fast-moving water. Amazingly, Byram only suffered minor injuries from this ordeal but did spend the night under observation at the emergency room.
Moving Forward, Bryam has a different approach when it comes to water on the road.
“I have a major fear of the water now. I don’t think people realize how important it is to turn around and pay attention to how much water is on the road. When it’s coming down like that, it’s dangerous.”