Leander mom says son still traumatized after flood rescue
The mother of the 12-year-old boy on the Leander ISD bus that washed into Brushy Creek said he’s still enduring trauma weeks after the incident.
The only two people on the bus at the time it encountered the low water crossing on County Road 177 was the driver Nathan Deyoung and Ashely Ringstaff’s middle school son. She said he called from the bus after it slid off the road and into the swift, flooded waters.
“He (was) like, ‘I love you, I don’t know what is going to happen, tell everyone I love them,'” said Ringstaff.
The bus got lodged in between trees approximately a couple hundred yards away where it slid off the road. Water still rushed around the bus as it sat stuck in the water and brush. Ringstaff said she stood by the small barrier on CR 177 while Leander Police gave her a “play by play” over the phone of her 12-year-old being rescued by swift waters.
"This didn't have to happen, shouldn't of happened, and now my son has to deal with it," she said.
For the rest of the week, Ringstaff said her son stayed home from school where he battled regular nightmares. “He was laying beside me and I was holding him and he was just jerking and shaking,” she said.
The day of the incident, Leander ISD said their bus routes no longer allow drivers to cross CR 177 at Brushy Creek. Ringstaff said the day before the incident, her son told her the driver encountered the low water crossing but turned around. It’s unclear what changed Deyoung’s mind the day of heavy flooding on Tuesday, October 16th.
Residents of Valley View Estates are calling on Williamson County to install gates that can be locked during flood events. The dash camera video from Leander Police shows the driver passing a small barrier before he attempts to cross several feet of rushing water.
“It’s hard because he could have killed my son, you never hear of good outcomes when vehicles were taken off the road by flooded waters,” said Ringstaff.
Leander Police Chief Jeff Hayes released the video in hopes it would deter future drivers from thinking they can cross low water crossings.
On the morning of Oct. 16th, during record rain and flooding in our area, a bus driver attempted to drive over a low-water crossing after driving around a barricade posted in the road indicating the road was closed due to flooding. The Leander Police Department has elected to release a portion of the forward-facing video from the bus in an effort to illustrate the dangers of attempting to drive across a low-water crossing during flood conditions. The biggest factor in these circumstances is buoyancy. For each foot the water rises up the side of the vehicle, the vehicle displaces 1,500 lbs. of water. In effect, the vehicle weighs 1,500 lbs. less for each foot the water rises. Just two feet of water can carry away most vehicles. TURN AROUND – DON’T DROWN is not just a catchy phrase, but potentially a life-saving reminder. #turnarounddontdrown