Man dies off Highway 69 after car gets taken by rushing water

Posted at 9:40 AM, Aug 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-22 11:13:36-04

MIAMI COUNTY, Kan. -- Flood waters swallowed a man's car and drowned him Tuesday morning along Highway 69 south of Louisburg after a night of torrential rains flooded many local roadways. 

The Miami County Sheriff's Office, along with search and rescue crews from several other local agencies, found the body of 56-year-old Pleasanton resident Robert Schoenhals right around 7:30 a.m. 

A press release from authorities said a deputy saw the man drive through high water and hydroplane off the roadway near Highway 69 and 363rd Street. The car went into deep rushing water, the release said, and crews were unable to find the vehicle for nearly 45 minutes.

When they discovered the car was empty, it took them hours to locate Schoenhals' body, which ended up 150 yards away, the release said.

Schoenhals was the only person in the car, the sheriff's office said. Officials pronounced him dead at the scene. 

MORE | Record flash flooding hits south KC metro again

As Indian Creek and Blue River burst over their banks before dawn Tuesday, thousands already without power were now at risk of becoming trapped in rising waters. Crews went around south KC and parts of Overland PArk to evacuate those along the flood path. 

One woman taken by the flood water clung to a tree for nearly four hours for rescue. Several others became stuck on the roofs of their cars or homes waiting for the water to go down and rescue boats to come bring them to safety.

Indian Creek shattered its record high flood level in late July, just under a month ago, in a flash flood that destroyed businesses and carried cars off the road. Tuesday morning, the creek broke that record yet again, hitting many of the same businesses that had just reopened from the damage a month ago.