Flooding nearly lead to tragedy in Sumner Monday when a toddler playing outdoors was swept into a ditch and through a culvert as the area was pelted by rain.
Thomas Willoughby, 2-year-old son of April and Adam Willoughby, is recovering in an Indianapolis hospital. According to reports, the child slid down a bank and into a water-filled ditch on East Cedar Street as his grandmother, Margaret DeLong, ran to him. He was swept into the culvert and was recovered at the end of the block by Sumner resident Donnie Bridwell.
Sumner Police Chief Travis Trainer said his department received a 911 call at 7:52 p.m., that a child was stuck in a culvert in the 100 block of East Cedar.
Officers responded, along with officers from the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department and Lawrenceville Police Department. In addition, first responders from Christy Fire Protection District and the Lawrence County Ambulance Service were on the scene "within three to five minutes."
Willoughby was taken to Lawrence County Memorial Hospital via ambulance. Plans to airlift him to a different hospital were temporarily foiled because helicopters were grounded by area storms.
The boy was transported to the Indianapolis hospital about 10:30 p.m.
Sources said emergency personnel worked to recover a heartbeat at the scene, which was lost again on the way to LCMH, then recovered again.
After that, Willoughby was still not breathing on his own, according to sources. After being hooked up to a breathing machine, he struggled to breathe and fought the inserted breathing tubes. He was then sedated to prevent a rising heart rate.
There were encouraging reports early today that Willoughby's body temperature had returned to normal. He was reportedly having seizures, which is considered a common reaction after such trauma. Reports of a CT scan, were reportedly being evaluated this morning.
A relative of Willoughby added that at this point in time, the family is asking for prayers. The incident remains under investigation.