Woman who fell into river floated four miles before she was rescued

Published 12:56 pm Wednesday, December 2, 2020

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A woman who was taking pictures at the Kentucky River Palisades near High Bridge Wednesday morning fell into the water and was rescued.

Mercer County Deputy Sheriff Wes Gaddis said he got the call about 11 a.m. and located the woman, Angela Grimes, near Brooklyn, where she had been found by some tree cutters who were working in the area. 

Some neighbors, Daniel Hall, 20, and his 13-year-old sister, Miriam, had gotten her into their family’s car to keep her warm, but the car was stuck, and Gaddis transferred her to his truck and took her to an abandoned store, from where she was taken by ambulance to the University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington.

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Gaddis said Grimes fell in at Lock 7 and floated about four miles downstream.

Tara Hall, director of the Family Center in Wilmore, who lives on the Mercer County side of the river in the Palisades with her husband John and their children, said the tree cutters, who were Hispanic and spoke little English, showed up at her home and said something about an older woman in the river needing help.

The Hall family have all had COVID-19 and were under quarantine, so they could not allow anyone in the house, but her children had not had a fever in a couple of days, she said, so they went to help.

Hall said she was told the woman “slipped and fell in.”

“It’s pretty miraculous” that she survived it, she said.

Gaddis said he believes the woman suffered from hypothermia.

“She was lethargic, and she was blue, and her toes and fingers were curled,” he said. “I think she’s going to be OK. I certainly hope so. She was just cold and wet.”

Hours later, Wilmore Police Chief William Craig said Grimes’ car, a Chrysler 200, had been connected to a hit-and-run accident that happened in the city about 7 a.m. The car hit a parked car and had minor damage. The vehicle had been impounded. Neither she nor anyone else was injured in the accident, he said.

Craig said Wilmore Police had shared that information with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office, and he could not say anything else publicly about the case.

Thursday morning, Samantha Lynn Grimes, who said she was Grimes’ daughter, sent a Journal reporter a Facebook message saying that the hit-and-run was “a false story and needs to be taken down” off the newspaper’s website.

But Craig and Gaddis both confirmed that vinyl car parts matching Grimes’s car were found at the scene of the hit-and-run, and Gaddis said her keys were found at Lock 7, which indicated that she probably did go into the water there and traveled the four miles downstream. 

The daughter confirmed that her mother “fell into the river and by the grace of God she survived.”

Samantha Lynn Grimes said no one from the Mercer County or Jessamine County sheriff’s offices had contacted her mother, and she criticized the newspaper for publishing the story while her mother was still in the hospital and before the reporter had talked to her. The daughter was given the reporter’s phone number, but neither she nor the mother ever called. The daughter said the mother’s cell phone was “at the bottom of the river.”

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at randy.patrick@bluegrassnewsmedia.com.

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