Skip to Content

Woman presumed dead after vehicle swept up in floodwaters west of Columbia

Flood 4 7-3-24
First responders ride in a boat Wednesday, July 3, 2024 during a rescue on the flooded West Gillespie Road in Boone County.
Media (1)
Jaylon Perkins/KMIZ
Several people stand on a road that was flooded out on Wednesday, July 3, 2024, in Columbia. Fire responders were called to Gillespie Bridge Road for a vehicle that was in floodwaters.
Flood 2 7-3-24
Several first responders are seen on Wednesday, July 3, 2024, after a vehicle was swept by floodwaters on West Gillespie Road in Boone County.
Media (2)
Jaylon Perkins/KMIZ
Boone County Sheriff’s deputies rope off a road as first responders work to recover a vehicle and people from floodwater on Wednesday, July 3, 2024.
gillespie flood
Jaylon Perkins/KMIZ
Firefighters respond to a vehicle in floodwaters on Gillespie Bridge Road near Columbia on Wednesday, July 3, 2024.
Flood 7-3-24
West Gillespie Road in Boone County was flooded on Wednesday, July 3, 2024.


A woman is presumed dead after her vehicle was swept up in Perche Creek floodwaters west of Columbia on Wednesday.

The elderly woman was in a vehicle with a man when they became trapped in floodwater, Boone County Fire Protection District spokesman Gale Blomenkamp said. The woman's body had not been recovered Wednesday afternoon.

The couple had been driving home from Columbia, Blomenkamp said.

Rescuers saved two people from the vehicle, Blomenkamp said. One was a bystander -- a landscaping worker who went out to help the two people who were trapped in the vehicle.

Rescuers were called to Gillespie Bridge and Coats Lane, an area near Perche Creek that is marked with signs warning of flooding during heavy rains. Flash floods hit Mid-Missouri on Wednesday after storms dumped inches of rain on the area overnight, including more than 4 inches at Columbia's Sanborn Field.

An ABC 17 News reporter at the scene saw firefighters working in the floodwater but was barred from getting close enough to see the vehicle.

Scott Mullins says he has been living on Gillespie Bridge Road for nearly a decade and flooding like this is not unusual. 

We see this road flood almost every year but in recent years it seems like the floods are becoming more frequent and higher,” Mullins told ABC 17. “When water is over the road it’s gushing over that road. it’s dangerous. even in a big four-wheel-drive truck, I would be very leary to drive through there.” 

Crews later arrived from Boone County Road & Bridge adding more barriers to block off the road. Teresa Shaw has been working for Boone County for nearly two decades and says she has been a part of her fair share of water rescues, most of which she believes are avoidable. 

“The problem is folks don’t take things seriously. they move the barricades because ‘I got a macho truck and I’m gonna drive right on through’”, Shaw said.

Route EE northwest of Columbia also remained flooded, according to county officials.

Emergency dispatchers sent out a public alert immediately after the call saying Gillespie Bridge Road was closed because of flooding.

An ABC 17 News reporter saw 19 first-responder vehicles, which included the Boone County Sheriff's Office, Columbia Police Department, Boone County Fire Protection District and an ambulance.

The possibility of more flooding is in the forecast. The National Weather Service issued a flood watch for much of Mid-Missouri through Thursday night.

The weather service doesn't maintain any gauges on Perche Creek. However, Hinkson Creek, which also runs through the Columbia area and into the Missouri River, peaked at moderate flood stage Wednesday morning.

Audrain County Emergency Management said Wednesday afternoon that a water rescue was taking place on County Road 820.

Two juveniles were also rescued when floodwater swept their UTV off Osage County Road 423, Sheriff Mike Bonham said. The juveniles were in good condition but taken to a hospital as a precaution, he said.

Two kayakers also had to be rescued from an island in the Gasconade River, Bonham said.

Check back for updates to this developing story.

Article Topic Follows: Boone

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

Author Profile Photo

Mitchell Kaminski

Mitchell Kaminski is from Wheaton, Illinois. He earned a degree in sports communication and journalism from Bradley University. He has done radio play-by-play and co-hosts a Chicago White Sox podcast.


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content