A Chicago area man and his two children had to be rescued from the Bonpas Creek bottoms east of West Salem Sunday night after being stranded in the frigid backwaters for more than 24 hours.
Edwards County Sheriff Darby Boewe says it appears 42-year-old Adam G. Burdette of Rochelle, Ill. started sending text messages late Saturday night to relatives that he was lost and couldn't find his way to safety. He had two children with him, ages 7 and 12. At the time the first texts were sent, Burdette was just lost, officials said. By the time rescue workers had been notified, the backwaters had risen and Burdette was stranded.
“We didn't get word about this until around 2:30 Sunday afternoon,” Sheriff Boewe said. “The hardest part was trying to figure out exactly where he was.”
The scene of the incident was on the Edwards-Wabash County line. By the time Edwards County officials and local rescue officials located Burdette, they determined he was actually in Wabash County.
Eventually, local farmer Curtis Kelsey took his front-wheel assist tractor to the area and spotted the stranded man's SUV. Unfortunately, he was unable to reach the stranded motorist because of high water. Then another local resident, Matt Lynch arrived on scene on a side-by-side and was able to travel across Pinhook Bridge, down along a levee and got closer to Burdette and his kids. In the meantime, Kelsey returned with a larger tractor and was able to reach Burdette.
In the meantime, emergency crews from the Browns Fire Department, Wabash County Ambulance Service and Mount Carmel rescue crews arrived to assist. The three victims were eventually rescued around 6:45 p.m. Sunday night and taken by ambulance to Richland Memorial Hospital in Olney where they were treated for exposure and released – except for Mr. Burdette.
A routine check of the driver revealed he was wanted on a no-bond warrant out of DuPage County, Ill. for domestic violence. Sheriff Boewe said Burdette was subsequently booked at the Richland County jail on the outstanding warrant.