Family & friends remember woman killed by floodwaters

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY (KYTX) -- A woman was killed and her father-in-law survived after driving into fast-moving floodwaters Sunday morning.

It happened in a low point along FM 95 just south of Chireno at the end of a 24-hour period that saw nearly a foot of rain dumped onto southern Nacogdoches County.

"He either didn't see it in time to stop or just didn't realize the depth and severity of what he was driving into," Sheriff Thomas Kerss said.

Kerss said the water was moving very fast from one side of the road to the other. Once Jimmy and Chanda Pipe drove in they were submerged and tried to swim out. Jimmy told CBS 19 they tried unsuccessfully to open the doors on their car and finally rolled down the windows.

"You're talking swift water," Kerss said.

Jimmy said once he got to the surface of the water he grabbed onto a tree and held on for dear life. He said he heard her scream his name, but that was the last time he heard her voice.

"It was just a little overwhelming I guess," Chanda's friend Amanda Hanway said. "And shocking. It was hard to believe."

Down the street from Chanda's Martinsville home, Hanway said she'd couldn't remember a time when Chanda wasn't next door.

"She's sort of like family I guess," Hanway said. "We're pretty close, all of us that live down here."

Now Hanway is coming to terms with the fact that tragedy is on her own doorstep.

"It should not be overlooked that one person's life was saved out of this incident," Kerss said.

"It's a miracle on his behalf and its just tragic about Chanda," Hanway said. "I couldn't believe it. I just don't think it's really sunk in."

Kerss said the sheriff's department is still looking for the car Jimmy and Chanda were in. They have no idea how far it went in all that raging water.

Jimmy, said he's struggling with why it had to be her and not him.


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