Woman recounts water rescue, 911 confusion

Updated: 07/21/2014 10:24 PM | Created: 07/21/2014 10:00 PM
By: Ryan Luby, KOB Eyewitness News

A woman thought she was going to die when an arroyo overflowed its banks near her parent's home and left her trapped inside her car.

"All I could see was water, that was it. I was submerged completely in water," Nancy Martinez said.

The county road, Camino de Paz, is just south of Highway 76 in northern Santa Fe County. She had stopped by her parents' home for only a few minutes.

When she arrived, the county road was dry.

Moments after she left, she noticed a four-foot wall of water racing toward her.

"It enveloped the car, it stalled the engine. Everything just went dark. The only thing I could see was the lightning to show how much the water was coming over the windshield," Martinez said.

She said she's always appreciated the power of water.

In this case, she said it simply rose too quickly for her to do anything.

Martinez figured her family was too far away to help so she called 911 from her cell phone.

It automatically connected her to nearby Rio Arriba County.

But instead of immediately getting help, the Rio Arriba County dispatchers transferred her to Santa Fe County dispatchers since she was technically in Santa Fe County.

"While I was trying to explain it to him, my phone died. And I looked at my phone, and I said, 'oh my God, no one knows where I'm at,'" she said.

On Friday, KOB Eyewitness News 4 reported on the 911 call Martinez made.

Marti Griego, the 911 director for Espanola and Rio Arriba County, said her staff was not trying to be difficult whatsoever.

She said it's simply a matter of procedure to transfer Santa Fe County emergency calls directly to Santa Fe County.

Fortunately, two other people who were stuck in a vehicle behind Martinez were able to call 911 as well.

Martinez said rescuers got her out of her vehicle within no more than 25 minutes.

She said they had to climb in through a back window.

Despite the concern about the 911 call, Martinez said she's just grateful to be alive.

"I thought I was going to die. I really thought I was going to die," she said. "I can honestly say, that [was] the most intense fear I've ever felt in my life."

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