Local News

Elderly man risks life, leaves car in middle of flood

Glenn Dotson, 70, escapes injury in Friday disaster

Elderly Man Reflects On Leaving Car During Ute Pass Flood

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - Experts warn drivers to stay in their vehicles for safety if they're caught in a flash flood.  But one man in Friday's Ute Pass flood decided to make a run for it, and lived to share his experience.

As a result, Glenn Dotson, 70, of Cascade, has become locally famous for his actions recorded on video.

"It's hard to believe, but it's an experience you won't forget," he said.

Dotson was heading home from work when the storm threatened.  He remembered previous flash floods in Ute Pass.  So did his friends in Colorado Springs.

"I was here trying to call him and get him on his cell phone, telling him not to go up the pass because I heard all the warnings -- and didn't get a hold of him," said Rena Bresser, one of Dotson's friends.

Dotson didn't realize it already was too late.

"It was raining pretty hard, but I thought I was going to make it," he said.  "I got to this one point, and walls of mud and water just came right at me.  It happened immediately."

Dotson decided to get out of his car, even as other vehicles floated quickly and dangerously near him.  The rushing water knocked him down, but he credits another driver, local businessman Ben Tilghman, for helping.

"He got me into his car, gave me a blanket, talked to me, calmed me down, and he's the one who eventually brought me to my friends' house over here," said Dotson.

Dotson wasn't hurt physically, but his friends noticed the emotional impact of his experience.

"He said he was all right, but he was shaking real bad," said Bresser.  "He could barely talk.  His eyes, all you could see was white, and everything else was just black."

Dotson's friends cleaned him up, providing him with a shower and clean clothes.  They spent the evening watching news video of the flood escape, still not quite believing what had happened.

Just like the rest of us.

Dotson said he hopes to hear from the Colorado State Patrol on Saturday about when he can get his car.  He's eager to return home to care for his dog.

"He should be fine," said Dotson of his pet.  "He ate a whole bunch (Friday) morning, and he's got water.  It probably won't hurt him to miss a meal."

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