October 20, 2020

Two children drown, one rescued after car rolls into creek while mom shopped

Two young children drowned Saturday night after the car in which they were locked somehow rolled into a creek.

The incident began around 5:45 p.m. Saturday, Leland Police reported. They were called after a white Nissan Pathfinder was seen floating in Deer Creek, reportedly with three children trapped inside.

When police arrived, Leland Fire Chief Bobby Johnson, Sarah Hester, Jacob Humphrey, C.J. Hollins, Seth Humphrey and Austin Macklemore had already located the vehicle with the three kids trapped inside, police reported.

The fire chief and the others jumped into the creek and attempted to break the windows out of the floating vehicle.

Despite their efforts, they were able to rescue only one of the three children before having to swim to safety, police said.

The vehicle then drifted further down and into the creek. Leland Volunteer Firefighters probed the creek attempting to find the vehicle when a rescue dive team arrived and entered the water. The vehicle was found at 8:00 p.m.

Jenea Monique Payne, 25, the three kids, told police that she left the children in the vehicle as she walked into Stop-N-Shop at 105 N. Main St.

Payne stated that as she came out of the store her vehicle was gone and had rolled into the creek.

Payne’s sons, 4-year-old Steve Smith and 1-year-old Rasheed Johnson Jr., died in the accident. He 2-year-old daughter Raelynn Johnson was pulled to safety.

The vehicle was pulled from the waterwith two of the childre still inside. The two boys were pronounced dead on the scene at 8:37 p.m. by Washington County Coroner, Melton Johnson.