By KARI BLURTON
It has been a week since Jaymiee Williams, 14, and her 10-year-old friend were swept into the drainage system at Lincoln and 19th by rapidly moving waters.
Stacy Williams, Jaymiee’s mother, said it is important for her to tell her daughter’s side of the story and — first and foremost — thank first responders and Mike Leiker for calling 911. Leiker’s call launched the successful search-and-rescue mission.
“I cried when I read Mr. Leiker’s story on Hays Post,” Williams said.
Williams said she is thankful Leiker took the time to stop and call 911. She said her daughter is “devastated” so many people did not stop and help her after she self-rescued herself from the storm drain at 13th and Oak streets.
According to Williams, the rushing water stripped her 14-year-old of all her clothes except her bra and underwear.
“My daughter had to run seven blocks to our home, cars passing her and no one stopping to help,” Williams said.
At one point, Williams said Jaymiee ducked into a carport — and a man came out and said, “Get out of there.”
Williams, who does not live within sight of the Lincoln Draw, said she had no idea anything was happening until their daughter ran into their home, cuts and scrapes covering her body and shivering so hard she was unable to speak. Jaymiee ran straight to the bathroom and jumped into the shower to warm herself.
Williams said it was then police arrived to tell Williams and her husband their daughter was “missing.”
Williams said her daughter came of the bathroom — begging the officers to tell her that her friend was OK.
She was indeed safe, being rescued by firefighters at a tunnel on 11th Street.
Williams said the girls have certainly “learned their lesson” about not hanging out at Lincoln Draw again — whether there is water in it or not — and are telling their friends the same.
Williams said Jaymiee has also learned to call 911 first when she sees someone is in danger.
“At the time, she said all she could think about was getting to (her friend) and saving her.”
Williams was disappointed by the judgmental reaction of a portion of the community, noting she heard people “who do not know us” blaming the parents for not supervising their kids.
“You can talk to your kids over and over and tell them not to do something, but you can’t be with them 24/7,” Williams said.
She is hopeful, however, the incident will help others.
“Preach to your kids. (Tell them) to not go anywhere where the same incident can happen, because there are not too many people out there who would help,” Williams said.
Williams said Jaymiee insisted on personally thanking Leiker and got the chance to do just that Monday afternoon with an “very emotional” phone call.
Williams said both girls are “in good condition” today and have an even stronger friendship and bond than they had before the incident.