Crews still searching for missing DeKalb County, Alabama, teen after vehicle he was in was swept off crossing into creek

Crews still searching for missing DeKalb County, Alabama, teen after vehicle he was in was swept off crossing into creek

February 25th, 2019 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News

CORRECTION: The teen is from DeKalb County. A previous version erroneously stated Jackson County.

An 18-year-old Geraldine, Alabama, resident still has not been found after he went missing when the vehicle he was riding in with two other people was swept off a crossing over a creek in Buck's Pocket State Park sometime before 8 p.m. Friday.

Koy Spears and the Jeep Cherokee he and two others were in remained missing as authorities in Jackson, Etowah and Marshal counties reconvened Monday to form a plan to resume operations after flood waters recede, Jackson County authorities said.

"Two people were rescued within probably an hour of going in," Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen said Monday of Friday night's efforts. "Somebody heard them yelling. They were pretty much clinging for life to a tree."

The bridge over the creek is on the Jackson-Marshal-Etowah county line and is the only road that crosses Metheny Creek, a stream that bisects the park, he said. Rescuers from all three counties joined in the operations.

Harnen said conditions Friday "were rough out there" and water levels remain too high to risk further searches until they return to safe levels. The chief deputy said roads throughout the area were damaged and broken from all the rain.

"They've walked all the way in from where they went into the river on the bank," Harnen said. "We still haven't recovered the vehicle or him."

The two people rescued Friday were identified as Crossville, Alabama, resident Sara Lucille Mooneyham, 22, and Jaxon Cole Jones, 21, of nearby Dawson, Sheriff Chuck Phillips said.

"We could not do an operation like this without the rescue squads and volunteer fire departments in our neighboring counties," Phillips said. "A lot of thanks goes out to them."

Harnen said boats were used over the weekend downstream of the site where Spears was last seen. He said they would likely be used again when search operations resume.

"It's gone down substantially, but the river's pretty high, we're going across it now," Harnen said over the phone as he and Sheriff Chuck Phillips rode in a patrol vehicle back to the scene on Monday.

Harnen said the two people pulled from the waters were treated at a local hospital and had no serious injuries.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton or at www.facebook.com/benbenton1.


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