Clark Lane barricades were moved, Public Works says

Monday, September 15, 2008 | 10:27 p.m. CDT; updated 10:46 p.m. CDT, Monday, September 15, 2008
Chris Crocker poses for a photo outside Cadalac Ranch after eating dinner with close friends and family members Monday evening. Crocker's car became stranded in floodwaters early Sunday morning. Crocker was able to escape through a window and stand on the roof of the car before it was submerged under water.

COLUMBIA — Barricades to keep drivers from crossing floodwaters on Clark Lane set up Saturday night before a woman drowned in Hominy Creek were moved during the night, according to the Columbia Public Works Department.

"The City Street Division put signs up at 10:30 p.m. on Saturday evening," said Jill Stedem, public information specialist for Public Works. "Between 3 and 4 a.m., the barricades (that had been placed in the road) were down."

Stedem said Public Works staff didn't know at what point in the night the barricades fell, but they determined that someone interfered with the barricades and it appeared a car had knocked them over.

Signs closing the road were also posted at the site, though they remained in place overnight.

"The ‘Road Closed' sign was still posted," Stedem said.

Just before 3 a.m. Sunday, Columbia resident Michelle Runkle was swept away by several feet of water. She had waded into Hominy Creek to help rescue a man clinging to a bridge after the flood submerged his car.

Runkle's body was found early Sunday evening, 16 hours after rescue crews began efforts to find her. City firefighters rescued the submerged car's driver Chris Crocker from the bridge.

According to Stedem, the section of Clark Lane near Hominy Creek had not been prone to high water in the past. "This is the first time that area's flooded in our knowledge," she said.

Stedem said the decision to close a road typically comes from Public Works through Joint Communications once an agency, often the police, finds an impassable road.

Columbia police were on the scene when the barricades and "Road Closed" signs were placed, said Battalion Chief Steven Sapp. The barricades had been moved and were not blocking the road when emergency crews arrived.

Elsewhere, the 6.32 inches of rain over the weekend caused more flooded streets, damaged cars and water-soaked buildings.

At around 12:30 a.m. Monday, Columbia police received an emergency call that another flooded car was found on Strawn Road, close to Harmony Creek.

Police discovered that the car had been there for almost two days, but no one was in the car.

"What happened is the road wasn't closed yet, and it was really late and by the time I was in the water, I was flooded," said Ashley Cooper, owner of the car.

On Forum Boulevard, Wilson's Fitness Center and Missouri Athletic Center suffered damage when water rose to 7 feet inside.

James Abrams, vice-president of Wilson's Fitness Center, said, "It's just Mother Nature. She's tougher than I am."

Employees and volunteers joined forces and swept away water from the building and parking lot Monday afternoon.

Abrams said that the building will be open Tuesday, though repairs are needed.

For a list of road closures in Boone County, go to


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