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Driver on flooded road: 'It was scary'

Thursday - 1/31/2013, 11:19am  ET

rescue near Aldie (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
The driver lost control of his vehicle. (WTOP/Neal Augenstein)
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Neal Augenstein, wtop.com

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. - The scene is being repeated throughout the region -- drivers and homeowners being rescued from powerful flooding waters.

An Alexandria man, Bobby, learned the dangers firsthand near Aldie, Va.

As I drove along Evergreen Mill Road, near the Brambleton neighborhood at 3:30 a.m. Thursday, I saw a van off the road, in a ravine, with water rushing past it.

The interior light was on, and the driver was still in the van.

I parked, called 911, and walked back to see whether the driver was hurt.

Bobby rolled down the window and said he was OK. As I spoke to the dispatcher, Bobby opened the driver's door, and climbed on the roof of his van to await rescue.

Soon after, Loudoun County Sheriff's Office deputies arrived. Police and fire/EMS crews have been conducting water rescues since Wednesday night.

"I guess the road was flooded," said Bobby afterward. "I lost control way back there, and ended up here."

"It was scary," admitted Bobby. "If the water wasn't there, I probably would have hit that tree."

Bobby hadn't realized powerful winds had blown down a sign declaring this portion of Evergreen Mill Road temporarily closed.

A deputy's cruiser is now blocking traffic on the closed portion of road. Other Loudoun roads are flooded.

After the crash, Bobby wasn't sure what to do.

"I couldn't get out of the van because it was surrounded by water," he said.

Thankfully he wasn't injured, and was agile enough to get out of the vehicle.

"I had to walk on top of the van, and jump over to the grass."

Sheriff's deputies summoned a heavy-duty wrecker to pull Bobby's van out of the still-rising water.

UPDATE: Late this morning, Bobby's wife called the newsroom, thankful someone had stopped to help her husband.

She had driven to the crash site to pick up her husband, and was surprised by his calm demeanor during the interview, "I know he was dazed by what had just happened," she said.

"He told me having someone there with him calmed him down."

I thanked her for the call, and said I was glad her husband wasn't hurt.

The van remains half-buried in mud, for the time being.

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