Man swept away in flood waters identified

The Dane County Medical Examiner has identified the man who died after being swept away in flash flood waters.

70-year-old James A. Sewell, of Madison, drowned after disappearing in the area of Piping Rock Road and Chapel Hill Road in the City of Madison Monday.



From Madison police: 


The driver's body has been recovered.

Last updated 08/21/2018 at 10:35 AM by PIO Joel Despain


The man – who is in his 70's - had been driving a car containing two passengers when it stalled in flood waters, and was carried into a normally dry drainage ditch.

A passerby saw the car nose down in the culvert. He went to aid those trapped. The vehicle was quickly filling with water. It had now passed the windows. The driver told the passerby he could not open his door. However, the passerby was able to open a rear door and assist the two passengers: a man in his 70's, and a woman in her 50's. 

While he was attempting to get them to safety, his wife was calling 911.  He yelled to her to hang up the phone, that he needed help. His wife ran over as the female passenger was getting out of the backseat. She (the passenger) was swept under the current. The wife reached into the water and grabbed the woman by the hair, pulling her up and out of the water. 

Meanwhile her husband, and a man in a suit – who had just come upon the scene - were trying to save the driver. He had gotten out of the car, but the current was very powerful. Despite heroic efforts, the two men were unable to keep him from being sucked under the car.

He did not come back up from the water. 

The three area residents, who came to the aid of the trapped, will be nominated for MPD lifesaving awards. 

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