Woman saved from flooded car

Published 11:45 pm Friday, August 1, 2014

By Monique Roth

One person feels divine intervention played a role in her rescue following torrential, unrelenting downpours this summer in the River Parishes that flooded homes and cars, including hers.

Gladys Banks, a part-time caregiver for the elderly, said on May 28 at around 7:45 a.m. she stopped at Golden Grove Truck Stop in Gramercy. It was raining hard, and water on the roads was rising due to heavy rain the night before, so Banks pulled into the gas station.

At first she was able to easily navigate her car through the pooled water in the parking lot, but Banks said, all of a sudden, the water rose dramatically and she could feel her car floating.

She immediately tried to open the car door to escape, but it wouldn’t budge. She had a tool with her that would break the window, but didn’t have to use it because she was able to roll her window down.

Once down, the window allowed water to fill the car rapidly. Before she knew it, Banks said, the car was filled up to the dashboard with water.

As she struggled to exit her car, Banks said, she saw three men in the distance who had stopped their vehicle and were putting on boots. Those men, she said, made their way to her and led her to higher ground.

Banks said the water was up to her neck as the men helped her out of her car, eventually guiding her to safety. When finally on dry ground, Banks said she saw only two men standing with her.

Even now, Banks is firm in the fact three men were initially there to save her.

“Nobody can tell me it wasn’t three men,” Banks said.

Banks, a member of Rising Star Baptist Church in LaPlace, said she was so thankful for her rescuers, Brandon McGee and Jamal Joseph.

Banks, McGee and Joseph are all residents of Reserve.

“They still have young people with a caring heart in this world,” Banks said at the July 22 St. John the Baptist Parish Council meeting, where McGee and Joseph were presented plaques by Parish President Natalie Robottom that stated: “In recognition and appreciation for your time and effort to those in need.”

District VII Councilwoman Cheryl Millet called the men “young saviors” and told them they made the parish proud.

Art Smith, councilman for District I, told Banks he believed her account of three men being present, telling her the third man was the man that brought McGee and Joseph to her.

“They were put there by God,” Smith said.

Robottom said McGee and Joseph had driven to St. James Parish to go to work that rainy morning, only to be told by their boss they weren’t working that day.

Banks said that detail is more proof of divine intervention.

McGee’s wife Coy said she was proud of her husband, and that rescuing Banks was his purpose that day.

Banks said she is eternally grateful for the men’s help.

“I just thank God for them,” Banks said. “God sent them just at the right time.”