Skip to main content

The Journal Gazette

  • Receding floodwaters of the Manatawny Creek in Boyertown, Pa., Friday, July 12, 2019, reveal the vehicle in which a pregnant woman and young son drowned Thursday after their car was swept from Grist Mill Road in Douglass Township. Emergency workers found the car in a tributary nearly five hours later. The bodies of woman and child were removed on stretchers Thursday, but the car remained in the creek Friday morning. The names of the woman and her son have not been released. (Bill Uhrich/Reading Eagle via AP)

  • TAKES OUT AGE OF SON - Flooding claimed the lives of a pregnant woman and her son whose car was swept away near the Colebrook Railroad trestle crossing Thursday, July 11, 2019 in Boyertown, Pa. Douglass Township Police Chief John says the car was swept down the Manatawny Creek for about a half-mile on Thursday night, while the woman was on the phone with emergency officials. The call then dropped, and emergency workers found the car in a tributary nearly five hours later. The names of the woman and child have not been released. (Michael Yoder/Reading Eagle via AP)

  • TAKES OUT AGE OF SON - A police car is parked near the site where flooding claimed the lives of a pregnant woman and her son whose car was swept away Thursday, July 11, 2019 in Boyertown, Pa. Douglass Township Police Chief John says the car was swept down the Manatawny Creek for about a half-mile on Thursday night, while the woman was on the phone with emergency officials. The call then dropped, and emergency workers found the car in a tributary nearly five hours later. The names of the woman and child have not been released. (Michael Yoder/Reading Eagle via AP)

  • Heavy rains passing through the Pittsburgh area opens up a massive sinkhole Thursday, July 11, 2019, at the intersection of McKnight Circle and McKnight Road in the North Hills neighborhood of Pittsburgh. (Peter Diana/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

  • Bystanders observe a vehicle and driver stuck in flood water on Kelly Drive at Midvale Ave., on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Philadelphia. A series of storms socked the Northeast with heavy rains and strong winds. (Jessica Griffin/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

  • Amy Norwitz, back left, and Jason Lubken, front right,.walk their bikes through flood water on Kelly Drive at Midvale Ave. on Friday, July 12, 2019 in Philadelphia. A series of storms socked the Northeast with heavy rains and strong winds. (Jessica Griffin/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

  • Two cars are seen submerged by floodwaters along Route 130 in Penn Hills, Pa., Thursday, July 11, 2019. The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for parts of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties on Thursday and the rain is expected to continue throughout the day. (Stephanie Strasburg/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

  • A vehicle goes through flooded Route 562 near Boyertown, Pa., Thursday, July 11, 2019. Torrential downpours turned roads into rivers and triggered landslides on Thursday, blocking access to a hospital for several hours and forcing the evacuation of a preschool when a sinkhole opened up. (Bill Uhrich/Reading Eagle via AP)

  • Emergency responders discuss the scene along Route 130 where two cars were submerged by floodwaters in Penn Hills, Pa., Thursday, July 11, 2019. The National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for parts of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties on Thursday and the rain is expected to continue throughout the day. (Stephanie Strasburg/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

Friday, July 12, 2019 2:40 pm

Pregnant woman, son die after car swept away in heavy rains

The Associated Press

BOYERTOWN, Pa. (AP) A series of storms socked the Northeast with heavy rains and strong winds, causing the deaths of a 9-year-old boy and his pregnant mother whose car was swept away by floodwaters while she was on the phone with emergency officials.

The rain started falling Thursday and continued through early Friday in some areas. Thursday's storms quickly intensified, causing flash flooding in several states and spawning a tornado in a southern New Jersey town.

A car driven by a pregnant woman in Pennsylvania was swept down the Manatawny Creek for about a half-mile on Thursday. She was on the phone with emergency workers for about 45 minutes, Douglass Township Police Chief John Dzurek told The Reading Eagle . Numerous flooded roadways made it difficult for responders to reach her during the ordeal, as the current started to float police vehicles, Dzurek said.

A firefighter who was put in contact with the woman, who was identified as 31-year-old Pamela Snyder, was able to stay on the phone with her for several minutes before they lost contact, Dzurek said.

The last thing she told the firefighter before the call dropped was that the nose of her car was starting to go down into the water, he said.

Emergency workers found the car nearly five hours later. The bodies of Snyder and her son Preston Dray were removed on stretchers, but the car remained in the creek Friday morning.

Family members told police she was about eight months pregnant.

Floodwaters also closed several streets in the Pittsburgh area Thursday night, but most had reopened by morning. The storms also knocked down trees and power lines, causing sporadic power outages across the region.

Portions of southeastern Massachusetts were hammered by heavy rain overnight, with the National Weather Service reporting that more than 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) fell over a six-hour period in Plymouth. Some road closures were reported, but no injuries. A flood warning was in effect for Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod, until midmorning Friday.

In New Jersey, National Weather Service investigators confirmed a tornado touched down in Mount Laurel Township on Thursday evening. It's the second small tornado in the southern New Jersey town in less than a week. Thursday's tornado was an EF-1, which reaches wind speeds of 90 mph.

Parts of New Jersey received more than 3 inches (7.62 centimeters) of rain from the storm.

___

This story has been corrected to show the boy was 9 years old, not 8.