McDowell County Sheriff's Department

McDowell County Sheriff's Department

BERWIND — A McDowell County man was arrested Thursday on a warrant out of Virginia after crashing his car into a swollen creek and floating downstream.

McDowell County 911 received a call about 11:16 a.m. about a man sitting on top of a car that was floating down Dry Fork Creek in the Cane Break area. Members of the Berwind Volunteer Fire Department and the McDowell County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the scene.

The car, a Chevrolet Monte Carlo, was in a single-vehicle crash that put it into the creek, according to Chief Deputy M.D. Shelton. After going into the water, the car floated downstream for about half a mile.

Dry Fork Creek is normally shallow, but the melting snow and sleet that had fallen Wednesday night and Thursday morning was making it much deeper than usual.

“It was almost at flood stage,” Shelton said later. “It was about 6, 7 or 8-feet deep. He’s very lucky to be alive.”

The driver, Dustin Hughes, 27, of the War area got out of the water and ran from the scene. There were no reports of anybody else being in the vehicle.

“He was located a short distance from where the vehicle came to rest in the creek,” Shelton stated.

Shelton said that Hughes was wanted in Tazewell County, Va. on a probation violation for grand larceny. He was transported to the department’s office in Welch for processing. The car was still in the creek Thursday afternoon due to the high water.

Contact Greg Jordan at

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