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Authorities in Harrison have spent three days searching for a couple whose sport utility vehicle was swept away by a flash flood Friday night.

Harrison Fire Chief Marvin Holt said John and Amy Villines have been missing since the storm.

Holt said workers began draining Lake Harrison on Sunday in an effort to recover the victims. He said it could take another week to drain the lake, which is formed by a weir on Crooked Creek.

"We'd love to say it's a rescue effort, but it's likely a recovery," Holt said Monday afternoon.

Brian Smith, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in North Little Rock, said the storm dumped 1.83 inches of rain on Harrison in one hour, beginning at 7:53 p.m. Friday.

"It was quick," said Harrison Mayor Dan Sherrell. "It was a lot of rain in a short period of time."

Holt said the Villines' vehicle was washed off a low spot on Highland Avenue, just south of Capps Road. From there, the water carried the vehicle eastward in a drainage ditch until it lodged into a bridge over the ditch near Ridge Avenue.

Holt said the driver's side window was broken out, so it looked like the couple got out of the vehicle and were perhaps swept away by the water. The drainage ditch flows southeastward to Stephenson Avenue, where it enters a tunnel that goes under downtown Harrison to Lake Harrison.

"The flow from this natural waterway feeds into the lake," Sherrell said.

It's about a mile from Highland Avenue to Lake Harrison. Holt said the drainage ditch and tunnel had been thoroughly searched.

"We've checked that six times probably," he said.

Holt said clothing that may have belonged to one of the victims was found Sunday in Crooked Creek, below the point where two gates in the weir were opened to drain the lake.

Holt said John Villines is a locksmith who owns Villines Lock & Key in Harrison.

Holt said late Monday that he was at the lake with a "dog team." He said more dogs and a dive team would be brought in today.

"The search is continuing," he said. "It will continue in the morning."

Metro on 12/04/2018

Print Headline: Arkansas couple missing 3 days after flash flood

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