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|West Monroe man pulls woman from car in flooded canal|
A Monroe artist was counting her blessings after nearly drowning in an automobile accident in West Monroe Monday morning.
Melanie King was backing up to turn around when her silver, 1999 Lincoln Town Car slipped from the pavement and into a drainage canal behind Kilpatrick Funeral Home off North 7th Street in West Monroe.
King said at first she thought she was in a hole in the parking lot, but when water began flooding into her car, she became worried.
"The parking lot looked exactly like a drainage ditch, which I didn't know was there," said King, alluding to flood waters, which plagued portions of Ouachita Parish on the heels of heavy rain that fell Sunday night and into the morning Monday.
"There was nothing there to stop me, so I didn't know where I was," King said.
Before she knew it, King was pinned in her back window and water was up around her neck.
That's when her guardian angel arrived in the form of Bobby Aulds, who works just around the corner.
Aulds arrived on the scene after his son phoned to tell him a woman's car was in the canal. He grabbed a baseball bat and swam to the car.
According to King, Aulds is the reason she's still breathing.
"He saved my life," King said.
With water flooding in around her and the small hammer she was using to trying to bust the window not even cracking the glass, King said she had given up.
"When you're head is up in the back window, and it's going down, and the water is rising very quickly, I had already said to the good Lord, this is it," King said. "I had figured out I was getting ready to die."
Aulds arrived at the car with only seconds to spare. After a couple of really good swings, the glass gave way and Aulds pulled her to safety.
Aulds told The Ouachita Citizen that he had only done what anyone else would do in that situation and, had the woman died, he wouldn't have been able to live with himself if he hadn't tried to save her.
"Could you sit there and watch that happen and then watch the news reports tonight about a lady and people letting that happen?" Aulds said.
Aulds said one of the things that helped him was when a bystander who could not swim tossed a cinderblock at the car and cracked the back glass. That made getting King out of the car easier, Aulds said.
Safe on dry land, King thanked Aulds.
She said she will call city and parish officials to have some kind of barricade or at least signs along the canal.
As of Monday evening, her car still had not surfaced.
King said officers told her it could travel as far as the Ouachita River before it turns up.
"They don't know when they'll be able to see it," King said.