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Harrison will spend an estimated $400,000 to drain a downtown lake to search for two people who disappeared during a Nov. 30 flash flood, said Mayor Dan Sherrell.

John and Amy Villines have been missing since their SUV was swept off Highland Avenue, just south of Capps Road. The vehicle was found lodged against a bridge over a drainage ditch near Ridge Avenue. One window was broken out.

Authorities believe the couple escaped from the vehicle but water carried them downstream, through a tunnel under downtown Harrison and into Lake Harrison.

Sherrell said pumps will be brought in to facilitate the draining of Lake Harrison. The City Council approved the expenditure on Thursday. Sherrell said Crouse Construction Co. of Harrison will provide the pumps.

Sherrell said family members of the victims had brought in pumps for about three days earlier in the search effort.

Lake Harrison is formed by a weir, or low dam, on Crooked Creek.

Sherrell said the city normally drains and cleans out the lake about once every five years. It last did so two years ago.

Sherrell said two 24-inch gates in the weir have been open for most of the past two weeks, but with recent rain, the lake has refilled. He said several small creeks flow into Crooked Creek upstream from Lake Harrison.

Sherrell said he didn't know how long it would take to drain the lake.

"It's going to be a slow process," he said. "We could have another big rain next week. ... It all depends on Mother Nature."

The Boone County sheriff's office has been searching Crooked Creek downstream from the lake and outside the Harrison city limits. Sheriff Mike Moore said nothing had been found as of Friday afternoon.

Harrison Assistant Fire Chief Darrell Pace said John Villines' T-shirt, sweatpants and wallet were found below the weir on Crooked Creek shortly after the search began, but nothing had been found recently.

Sherrell said the work may not cost $400,000. If the bodies are found before the lake is fully drained, the work will stop, he said.

Metro on 12/15/2018

Print Headline: City Council to spend $400,000 to drain lake in search for Arkansas couple

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