Pegram mom killed, swept away by flood; Town hopes tragedy won't return


Pond Creek in Pegram is beautiful, peaceful and serene. It’s hard to believe it stripped a mother away from her children.

“I was checking out my minivan and I heard someone screaming. Evidently that was her,” said Don Pekarek, who lives in Pegram.

Pekarek came out in the dark of Wednesday night’s flood that reached the stairs of his front porch and washed away part of his yard, trying to save his home and his family.

“There’s nothing I can do. I’m standing on the porch,” said Pekarek.

He found himself in another rescue mission, this time for his neighbor. Those living along Pond Creek Rd. say wife and mother Michelle Cooper went to move her vehicle to higher ground. She saved it from the flood but it cost her, her life. Just after 9 p.m., rapid water, washed her away while her teenagers watched and screamed for help.

“We went out and looked around with flashlights and we couldn’t see anything,” said Pekarek.

“Our neighbor come and knock on the door and said that he’d heard screaming down the road and he wanted to see and they said the lady had washed off the bridge down there,” said Bert Lovell who helped look for Cooper.

Neighbors across the street joined in the search. Rescue crews were delayed because of washed out roads. Just before midnight, Cooper’s body was found caught in debris not far from her home.

“It’s sad, you know. Even though we're not that close a neighborhood, you hate to hear that about anybody, especially if they’ve got kids or what not,” said Lovell.

As more rain moves through Thursday night, neighbors hope tragedy won't strike again. Meanwhile, flooding isn’t the only concern. Neighbors worry about mudslides, driveways being washed away and sinkholes.

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