The determination of a Highland area mother not only saved her life, but the lives of three of her children Saturday night in Clinton County.
Kaylie Donaldson and her children, five-year-old twins Jaxon and Maddox, and 19-month old Bodhi escaped flood waters in the Beckemeyer area, then overcame adversity to be safely rescued.
The family was in Carlyle at a basketball game for Kaylie and Tyler Donaldson’s other son. Kaylie decided to leave early with the twins and baby.
Tyler told WGEL his wife’s cell phone was not charged and she used the in-car GPS to guide her home. He said the GPS took her onto a country road in the Beckemeyer area, a road she was not familiar with, and when she went over the crest of a hill, she was not able to realize the road was flooded.
The car was in flood waters of eight to nine feet in depth when the water splashed onto the windshield. Kaylie grabbed the baby and she got out of the vehicle through a window. Tyler said she was then able to get the twins out, but all of them were in the water in dire need of reaching higher ground.
Tyler said while his wife held onto the baby, she would grab one of the twins by her other arm and hand, tossing them as far as she could toward drier land. Eventually the reached a road bank, however that was just part of the struggle.
Now the mother and kids needed to find help. All were freezing as the temperature was in the upper 20s or lower 30s and snow and sleet was coming down.
They found an opening in a fence to reach a barn, them Kaylie noticed a farm house. They decided to walk in that direction, but they had to get past barbed wire fence. One of the twins got caught up in the fence and lost some of his clothing. They eventually reached the house, which had a light on, but no one was there.
A door was unlocked, so they went inside. Tyler said they were unable to find a phone to call for help and realizing her children were in distress due to being wet and cold, Kaylie decided to try to reach Route 50 which was about three-quarters of a mile away.
On the way there, the twins were unable to go any further, so the mother left them and continued in the dark with the baby.
They reached the highway and were able to stop motorists. One of them called 911 for an ambulance and they immediately went back to get the twins.
The mother and three children were taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese. All were treated. Tyler Donaldson said the four were watched closely due to the trauma they had been through, but they had no physical injuries except some cuts from the barbed wire fence.
Tyler told WGEL he is proud of his wife and children, and thanks God He was with them that night.
The Donaldsons live between Highland and Grantfork.