An 18-year-old local woman is relieved and thankful after her boyfriend and his father rescued her from a flash flood in El Paso County.
Serenity Reininger said she had just left her boyfriend's house at around midnight Monday, when she drove into high water at a bridge on Peaceful Valley Road near the Colorado Springs-Fountain line. The flood swept her car into Jimmy Camp Creek.
"I didn't even see (it)," she said. "I slammed on my brakes right before (it), but it swept me up. I tried honking my horn."
Reininger immediately called her boyfriend, Jesse Tyler, on her cell phone.
"She was just panicking, and I couldn't get out of her what was going on." said Tyler, 18.
Tyler said he ran out of the house and drove to help Reininger.
Tyler's father, Kit Tyler, said, "When (Jesse) took off, I called him on the phone. I could tell by the panic in his voice, I knew it was bad."
The Tylers said they arrived to find water higher than they'd even seen it over the bridge, and didn't immediately see Reininger's car because of the darkness. But the young couple remained in phone contact.
"I just thought the car was underwater and somehow she was still talking," said Jesse Tyler."
The Tylers finally saw the car's hazard lights flashing about 500 feet down the creek, wedged between some trees. They said they waded through cold, chest-deep water while barefoot to get Reininger out of the car.
"I heard him calling my name and he was right outside of my car," she said of her boyfriend. "My worst fear is drowning, so I was freaking out the whole time. I rolled my window down just before the power went out, climbed out of the passenger window, sat on the roof and climbed over."
Reininger and the Tylers were uninjured.
Reininger and Jesse Tyler are preparing to start college; Reininger at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and Tyler at Colorado State. But the couple says they can handle being apart after their experience.
"It was just amazing that I floated that far without having the car flip," said Reininger. "It's scary to know that I was in there. I don't know how I survived, but it was a miracle because I thought I was a goner."