‘Guardian angels’ rescue Tennessee woman from floodwaters

Severe Weather

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Good Samaritans are being credited for saving a woman’s life in Tennessee.

Ava Craven’s car was swept away Sunday morning in the flood waters on Tulip Grove Road. 

It was dark and around 1 a.m.

“My tires hit the floodwaters, which I could not even see. And as soon as they rotated one time into the water, it just like pulled me off straight into the water and spun my vehicle around in circles and within two minutes, I went from just touching the water to being up to my hips. And the water inside my vehicle which was elevated up, floating off of the ground,” Craven said.

A teenage good Samaritan assisting another stranded driver helped pry Craven’s van door open. She said water was then up to her chest and quickly rising as she grabbed hold of a fence post and screamed for help.

“From our bedroom window, you can see straight down this way and that’s when I noticed Ava’s vehicle just floating down the road,” said Justin Biltonen.

He raced outside to screams unlike he’d ever heard before.

“I could see her about where that yellow post is about there hanging on to the post just screaming,” he explained.

Craven said, “He started screaming out to me as I’m screaming bloody murder. I’m swaying back and forth on the fence post being knocked into it just trying to head up there, but it was probably the most dangerous direction I could have gone.” 

Water reached Biltonen’s chest as he put his own life at risk, paddling through some spots to pull the mother back to dry land.

“I’m just so thankful that I’m alive,” Craven said, adding that she feels as though God blessed her that day with guardian angels. 

“I thank them for that from the bottom of my heart because I don’t know what could have happened and I truly believe they saved my life.”

Biltonen said his instincts just kicked in and he hopes that anyone else in his shoes would have done the same thing.

“If I hadn’t of looked out the window and come down, I think she would have … she would have been gone,” he said.

Craven also connected with the teenage good Samaritan. 

She hoped sharing her story will raise awareness for other on the importance of taking flash flood warnings seriously. 

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