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Motorist Missing in Dallas-Area Floods

July 30, 2004

DALLAS (AP) _ Authorities searched Friday for a motorist whose vehicle was found in a flooded creek downstream from a collapsed bridge after more than a foot of rain fell in the Dallas area.

The body of another motorist was found in the creek, and two others were also known dead from the severe storms that moved through late Wednesday and early Thursday.

In the Dallas suburb of Lancaster, city officials were hoping for state and federal help after flooding damaged as many as 200 homes.

Damage from the falling rain _ such as leaking roofs _ was estimated to be at least $17 million, said Jerry Johns, president of the Southwestern Insurance Information Service. That premilinary figure excludes flood damage, which is not covered by most homeowners insurance, Johns said.

State transportation officials were investigating why concrete columns collapsed in the bridge in the small Ellis County town of Ovilla.

Two vehicles were found downstream from the bridge late Thursday, and the body of a 52-year-old man who had apparently been driving to work before sunrise was found under piles of debris in Red Oak Creek, county Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Charles Sullins said. The search for the second motorist continued.

To the northwest, the body of a security guard who had not shown up for work was found by firefighters Thursday evening in a creek, about 100 yards downstream from his sport utility vehicle, said police Sgt. David McGinty.

In Dallas, a motorist was killed Wednesday after his pickup truck knocked over a utility pole.

It was the second flood in about a month at the Lancaster home of Fred and Eileen Odom and their five children. Their 13-year-old was sprawled on the carpet reading around midnight when he noticed his elbow was wet.

A short time later, the carpet was sopping and floodwaters were ankle-deep on the kitchen linoleum.

``You couldn’t see anything,″ said Eileen Odom, 42. ``You couldn’t see the yard. All you could see was water, rushing water.″

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