Waverly-Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader reports at 06:17 this morning, his dispatch center received a 911 call from a motorist in reference to a male lying in the center of the roadway on SR 124 near the intersection of SR 772. Pike County EMS and Deputy Eric Zerneskie were immediately dispatched. Upon arrival to the area, the body of 58-year-old Donald L. Denny from Wellston was located.
Reader along with Chief Deputy Bob Barbee and Lieutenant Brock Clemmons arrived on the scene as well. Pike County Coroner, Dave Kessler was contacted and met the units on the scene. Donald L. Denny was pronounced dead at the scene by Kessler.
Denny’s vehicle was located 682 feet inside the “Road Closed” signs that were placed by the Ohio Department of Transportation Wednesday evening due to extreme flooding and multiple feet of standing water covering the roadway. Evidence of water in Denny’s vehicle confirmed that at one point the vehicle was at least halfway submerged in the flooding waters.
Kessler ordered an autopsy to confirm the cause of death. At this time it appears that the death could be related to overexertion and a heart condition due to fighting the swift current of the flood waters or possibly drowning based on the initial investigation and evidence the scene provided, according to the report.
Death notification has been made to the next of kin at this time.
“It’s very unfortunate to receive a call in the early morning hours advising me that someone may have lost their life due to being submerged in flooded waters,” Reader said. “My office has worked very closely with the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Pike County Engineer’s Office to ensure that safeguards are put into place for the public. No one should ever remove a barricade put in place for the safety of not only themselves but for other traveling motorists as well. Again, this is very unfortunate due to every step being in place to prevent such a tragedy.”