NewsRegionOakland County


Drivers swim to safety, rescued at I-696 and I-75 as wave of flood water crashed down

Posted at 12:43 PM, Aug 12, 2014
and last updated 2017-05-04 11:40:33-04

At least seven vehicles are submerged on I-75 in Hazel Park. At one point there was almost 15 feet of water in the area.

Although the water has receded, it still poses a threat.

Around rush hour Monday night, the flood waters rose too fast for drivers to react.

"But I had a dump truck, so I figured I was going to make it up the ramp, go around and be gone," explained Craig Payne. Payne got caught at I-75 and I-696. He figured wrong.

"I thought I was clear and then over the top came a wave of water and dirt and everything just wiped me out," Payne continued.

The rushing water washed away the embankment and forced the pump station to break.

"Water was shooting out of a pipe, 15-20 feet in the air between the seams and I'm like 'man this isn't looking good. I'm in a bad situation right now.'"

As the water continued to rise the person in the vehicle behind Payne swam to safety, but Craig worried about the broken concrete slamming against his truck.

"I didn't want to be taken out like this," he said.

Payne was afraid of getting washed away by the overpass where the water was 14 feet deep. That's where he and other watched some 30-50 drivers abandon their cars and swim to safety.

"Lot of them were swimming of there. People were climbing up the embankment. People were actually swimming out of their cars on 75. They were standing on them initially and then the water kept rising. They had no choice," explained Gary Crouch.

While he weighed his options, Payne says a Michigan State Trooper came to his rescue.

"I forgot his name but I thank him a lot. He threw me a lifeline out. He came and got me out so I wouldn't have to get washed into that deep water there."