01:44 - Source: CNN
Sheriff swept away by floodwaters

Story highlights

Sheriff in western Arkansas apparently drowns

He was part of rescue effort at residence

At least 9 were injured in a storm Thursday in western Arkansas, an official says

CNN —  

An Arkansas sheriff died early Friday during a rescue attempt at a home deluged by floodwaters, officials said.

Scott County Sheriff Cody Carpenter apparently drowned in the swiftwater rescue bid, according to Keith Stephens, spokesman for the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Two people at the home and a state wildlife officer who had been with Carpenter are missing, Stephens said.

Scott County is about 150 miles west of Little Rock, near the Oklahoma border.

Western Arkansas was hit hard Thursday by a powerful storm that also delivered blows to parts of Oklahoma and other states.

The National Weather Service noted reports of tornadoes in at least seven communities in western Arkansas – as far west as Polk, as far south as Garland County, and as far north as Oden.

At least nine people statewide had suffered injuries as of Thursday night – before the death in Scott County – state emergency management spokesman Tommy Jackson told CNN. That figure includes four minor injuries in Oden, three in Clark County and two hurt by a lightning strike in Benton County.

Two homes were destroyed in Oden, about 50 miles west of Hot Springs, according to Jackson. The weather service noted, too, that power lines were knocked down and Highway 88 was blocked at one point.

Three houses were reportedly damaged and three people were injured around the small Clark County town of Amity, according to the same agency.

Flooding was a problem in many places.

In Coffeyville, Kansas, police rescued people from 16 vehicles in a 1½-hour stretch on Thursday afternoon after they got trapped due to intense flooding, fire department Capt. Wayne Joplin said.

Water in the streets went up to cars’ headlights, if not higher, after “torrential rain” fell on ground already saturated by storms the previous night. “The gutters and our storm system couldn’t handle it,” the captain said.

“I’ve lived here since 1979, and I’ve never seen that much rain that quick,” Joplin told CNN.