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BRIDGEVILLE (KDKA) – A woman’s body was found in Bridgeville after heavy rains caused widespread flooding Wednesday night.
According to officials, the woman’s body was found among some debris in McLaughlin Run Creek Thursday morning. She became trapped in her car on McLaughlin Run Road, got out and attempted to walk home, but was eventually swept up by the flood waters and carried about two miles down the creek.
Police have identified the victim as 64-year-old Wendy Abbott, of Upper St. Clair. She was the caretaker for her elderly mother and her stepfather who suffers from dementia.
According to police, a family member reported Abbott missing on Wednesday night. Police, fire and public works officials immediately began searching for her. Her vehicle was found abandoned on a street near McLaughlin Run Road and Morrow Road.
Abbott’s mother, Delores, will now celebrate her 95th birthday on Monday without her daughter.
“A lot of pain,” said Delores. “Sometimes I think I’m going to be sick.”
She says her daughter made a desperate call home after become trapped in the high waters.
“You know, she called and said, ‘Mom, pick up! Pick up!’ By the time I got to the phone, she said, ‘I’m in the flood, I’m in the flood!'” said Delores. “I surmise the wall of water was bigger than her, and she probably could not comprehend that. She was a good swimmer, anyway.”
Now, Delores is confronted with a task that no parent should have to endure — burying a child.
“She should be here, not me,” she said of her daughter. “I should be the one who’s dead. But the Lord won’t have it that way.”
The future remains uncertain for Delores and her husband.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to stay in this nice surroundings. I won’t have any extra help. I don’t drive. My husband doesn’t drive. She was the driver,” she said.
But she adds that she will be holding tight to her memories.
“I’ll never forget Wendy, never, never,” she said.
KDKA’s Amy Wadas Reports:
Also in Bridgeville, debris was piled high under Bower Hill Road Bridge. Multiple dumpsters, at least one car standing upright, and a lot of logs all washed down McLaughlin Run Creek during the storms. Excavators have since cleared it all away.
“All I saw was the water from the creek here overflowing the wall and sidewalk here, and no other escape except for more going under the bridge,” said Tiffany Vandergriff.
Not far away, Baldwin Street was a muddy mess. Bruce Cherosky was sweeping mud from the first floor of his home.
“Since the last flood, I gutted everything off of the first floor and moved everything upstairs,” said Cherosky. “I was just sitting on steps watching it come up.”
Wednesday night’s flood is worse than Hurricane Ivan in 2004. In fact, the dates of Ivan and Wednesday night’s storms are marked on the wall next to the garage door of Bob Orient’s business, Orient HVAC.
“This time everything you see inside is gone. Insurance will cover some of it,” said Orient.
The bar was just remodeled this past year at the nearby Italian Club, which is now covered in mud.
The borough manager said FEMA is coming out to assess the damage. She said she placed Bridgeville under a state of emergency.
Meanwhile, a state of emergency was declared in Bethel Park and Upper St. Clair after storms brought heavy rains and severe flooding to that area.