Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco County residents cope with flooding from heavy rains

PORT RICHEY — The baby blue Bronco plowed through the flooded street where lesser cars sputtered and died.

"Here comes my wife," said Jeffrey Borth, as he waited in his own Bronco on Wednesday afternoon after heavy rain caused flooding in pockets of west Pasco. "I got that truck for $400 and put it together for her."

The heavy rains that pounded Pasco County on Tuesday and Wednesday left a number of roads submerged and impassable, unless you had the right kind of vehicle. Firefighters and deputies began knocking on doors in the Gulf Highlands neighborhood at daybreak to offer assistance to residents, although there were no mandatory evacuations Wednesday.

People in about 10 homes asked for assistance getting out, said Jim Martin, director of emergency management for Pasco County. A few homes had water inside, he said.

The pockets of flooding were scattered throughout the county. The water was a foot deep at Oak Springs RV Park off Scenic Drive. Parts of County Line Road were under water. But Gulf Highlands was the worst hit.

"If you don't have a car like this, you're stuck," Borth said with pride. This was proof of his niche passion: a Bronco enthusiast, saving and restoring the decades' old beasts. He sliced through the high water zones like they were puddles.

Borth and his 6-year-old daughter, Amber, spent the day patrolling the roads for stranded cars and shuttling people inside flood zones. His Bronco is an '86, black with a maroon stripe, and he bought it online for $800 in February. The doors are heavy and the cab sits high. There are no steps to get inside.

"Just grab on to anything," he said to a passenger crawling in. "It'll hold."

Borth rolled down the back window, and Michelle Spencer crawled in the rear. He always calls her his wife, but they're not really married. They work on their Broncos together. They have four of them.

"Broncos were the SUV before there was an SUV," Spencer said.

"They don't make 'em anymore," Borth said.

He took her through the flooded area on Coventry Drive so she could get her Kia, then turned around and made his way back up the street. He stopped near a stalled red Mercury that he had pushed out of the floods earlier. He rolled down his window.

"Not yet, huh?" he said.

"No, it needs a spark plug," said a woman. The hood was up and a few guys were checking it out.

Down the street, a half-dozen people made bets on which cars would get through. No one seemed worried about the water, which lapped onto lawns but didn't reach any front doors.

"I'm worried about beer. We don't have enough beer," said Lennox Aquhart, 62.

David Thoden, 46, stood on the curb in his blue swim trunks. He said his girlfriend delivers newspapers for the Tampa Tribune and when she tried to come home at 5 a.m. that morning, she couldn't get through the water. So she had to park and walk several blocks in the dark.

"She was soaked and scared," said Thoden, a pyrotechnician who said he helped push eight cars to dry ground that morning.

Some people chose to stay in their homes, even though they had no way in or out.

Paul Latham, with the Pasco Office of Emergency Management, urged people to not drive through barricaded streets.

"They are risking their vehicles and their lives," Latham said.

People should also stay out of the water, he said. In some areas, the water swept up trash that had been put out for curbside pickup Wednesday morning.

Borth said he has a plate on the front of his Bronco so he can nudge cars through the floods.

"This one lady, she was in a little Saturn with three kids; she didn't make it 10 feet," said Borth, who pushed her car out of the water.

"I'm just going to keep driving around," he said, "and if people get stuck …

Amber cut him off.

"We have a big Bronco," she said.

Erin Sullivan can be reached at esullivan@sptimes.com.

fast facts

Flooding

Emergency officials say people who feel their safety is at risk because of rising waters can call 911 for help.

The county is offering sandbags to residents. They can be picked up at the public works building in the West Pasco Government Center, 7536 State St., New Port Richey.

Paul Latham, with the Office of Emergency Management, urges people to not drive through barricades on flooded streets and to not spend time in standing water because of possible health hazards.

For information and flood updates, go to www.pasco

emergencymanagement.com or call (727) 847-8137.

The West Pasco branch of the American Red Cross phone number is at (727) 848-8354.

Pasco County residents cope with flooding from heavy rains 07/01/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 1, 2009 9:15pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Baker cautious on Pride politics

    Elections

    Rick and Joyce Baker strode down Central Avenue Sunday amid rainbow flags, corporate booths, and blaring music of the St. Pete Pride Festival.

    St. Petersburg mayoral candidate Rick Baker chats Sunday with people at the St. Pete Pride Festival. As mayor, Baker did not sign a Pride parade proclamation, but now he says he would.
  2. Rays' bullpen stars lit up in loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday it was the soft underbelly of the bullpen that let one get away from the Rays, incurring the wrath of the team's faithful followers, who wondered why the high-leverage guys weren't pitching.

    Rays closer Alex Colome, coming in with the score tied in the ninth, allows three runs in his second straight poor outing.
  3. Lightning among early suitors for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said he planned to explore free agency for potential needs, which include bolstering his blue line and adding a wing or two.

  4. Senate leaders try to appease members as support for health bill slips

    National

    WASHINGTON — Senate Republican leaders scrambled Sunday to rally support for their health care bill, even as opposition continued to build outside Congress and two Republican senators questioned whether the bill would be approved this week.

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday, is one of the five Republican senators who announced they cannot support the health care bill as drafted.
  5. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for the week of June 26-July 2.

    Events

    Vans Warped Tour: The festival returns Saturday to St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park, featuring shock-metal icons Gwar, hardcore punks Sick Of It All, ska band Save Ferris and indie-pop group Never Shout Never ($39.50-$49.50). vanswarpedtour. …

    Crowd for the Motionless in White band at the 2014 Vans Warped Tour at Vinoy Park, Friday, July 25, 2014.  CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times