Monday, May 27, 2024


Early Wednesday afternoon Don Wayne Hoover , 57, of The Woodlands put an aluminum boat into the San Jacinto River at I-45. Within a short time he lost it in the current. Hoover then returned with 19-year-old Thomas Nathaniel Taylor of Spring. Together they set off to find the boat in a kayak. Fighting the current they were finally able to get close to shore about 2 miles downstream. and called for help.

Just after 3:30 Caney Creek and Conroe  Fire Departments were dispatched to the river for a river rescue. With their rescue boat in tow and several firefighters trained in swift water rescue they arrived  After checking the water they were able to contact Hoover by phone who stated that they had been able to get to land and were on the bank but there was nowhere to go due to heavy brush. It was then the Caney Creek Chief, knowing they were safely out of the water started an attempt to get an exact location in an effort to extract them by land.

As they worked on the plan Hoover, back in contact with the fire department asked where they were and wanted to know why a boat wasn’t in the water yet.

With the flat bottom boat in the amount of current there was and with large trees floating downstream the Chief knew it was much to dangerous to put that type of boat in the water when there was a chance by land.. When that was relayed to Hoover, Hoover said,” bottom line, are you going to put a boat in the water or not.”

When the chief responder with the alternate, Hoover said, “ then don’t waste my time and hung up.” Moments later he then called 911 telling them he was trapped on the San Jacinto River.

Caney Creek notified Montgomery County Precinct 4 Constables Office. Members of the Constable’s office equipped for swift water rescue with an inflatable boat, wet suits and other rescue equipment responded to the scene.

When they arrived they were able to back their Jeep with the boat attached into the river and launch it. It took only minutes with the swift water to get them to Hoover and Taylor. They were brought on board and started the slow trek back up the river against the current to Interstate 45. Just before they got to the Interstate they had to take evasive action to miss hitting a floating upside down outhouse head on.

Hoover or Taylor were uninjured.

Chief Barry Welch with Montgomery County Precinct 4 said with the water that swift and all the trees and debris that it was extremely dangerous for anyone to enter the water.

Prior to Constable Hayden taking office, he and several of his deputies were part of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Lake Patrol which has since been transferred to Precinct 1 Constables.  Hayden and those deputies went through extensive swift water rescue training. Most were also volunteer firefighters and were also able to train with them.



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