Campbell County family swept away, killed by rushing water

Campbell County family swept away, killed by rushing water

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By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

WILLIAMSBURG, KY. (WATE) - Flash flooding has claimed the lives of an entire Campbell County family, after sweeping their car into an overflowing creek, and trapping them inside.

Authorities say the family was on the way to visit relatives in Kentucky on Friday.

When they never arrived, those relatives called police.

The Whitley County Sheriff's Office says the bodies of Shannon Kier, 39, Susan Kier, 29 and their 2-year-old son Lee, all of Jacksboro, were discovered in their car in the Jellico Creek early Saturday morning.

Deputies say heavy storms had caused the creek to swell at least seven feet higher than normal, covering the road that runs alongside it in Williamsburg with moving water.

Those fast moving waters swept the Kier's car off Newman Campbell Road into the creek.

The waters flipped their car over before carrying it some 250 yards downstream.

It came to rest upright on a tree stump near the bank.

The victims were found dead inside the car when the waters receded.

"It is a very, very tragic accident and our hearts go out for them," said Whitley County Sheriff Colan Harrell.

Harrell says his office believes the flash flooding may have just begun when the Kier family tried to cross the road, but says even a few inches of moving water is enough to lift a car.

Both the Campbell County and Whitley County communities are reeling from the loss of the young family.

"People are just absolutely devastated. To know that an entire family, a father, mother and young child were taken in an accident like this so suddenly," said Gerald Mullins, chaplain of the Whitley County Coroner's Office.

Friends of the family say their deaths are still too much to take in.

"It's still sinking in. It's like it didn't happen but I know it did," said Charles Nunn, a friend of the Kier family. "Especially for the baby, it hadn't even really begun life."

Harrell says this tragedy is a devastating reminder to other drivers to never attempt driving over a flooded roadway.

"With a swift current, just don't. Don't do this," said Harrell.

Harrell says the Kier family was pronounced dead late Saturday night by the Whitley County Coroner.

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