Man drowns, woman alive after clinging to ATV for days


    JASPER COUNTY - Steven Morgan and a friend were on their way to go fishing when ahead of them a woman flagged them down.

    The woman was stranded in the Neches River on an ATV. Twenty feet away from her lay an elderly man in the water.

    "Best we could tell he tried to get out, maybe to the bank 'cause they said they couldn't get a signal on their phone," Morgan says.

    "I don't know what happened between...the Argo and the bank, I don't know what happened to him...if he just drowned or got hung up or what."

    Texas Parks & Wildlife Game Wardens say 79 year old Mallie Kelly of Buna drowned in the Neches River, and the woman he was with managed to survive after clinging to an all-terrain vehicle for two days before she was discovered by a passing boater.

    Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Mike Smith pronounced him dead at the scene, and he said an autopsy was ordered.

    Game Warden Justin Eddins said it all began on Wednesday when the man and woman became stranded due to high water at a campsite off of County Road 701, near the swollen Neches River, northwest of Buna, in Jasper County.

    Eddins said Mr. Kelly drowned on Wednesday, and the unidentified woman clung to an amphibious ATV until a boater discovered her early Friday morning. She was taken by ambulance to a Beaumont hospital for treatment due to exposure.

    Meanwhile, Evadale firefighters and Jasper County Sheriff Mitchel Newman worked together to recover the body of the man.

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