MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado Springs Gazette videographer John Schroyer was driving up U.S. Highway 24 to cover a possible flash flood on the Waldo Canyon burn scar when a river of mud roared downhill and took him and his Subaru wagon for a wild ride.
Schroyer somehow captured the Wednesday afternoon flash flood in an amazing video as he tried to steer the out-of-control wagon as churning black mud swept it off the highway near Manitou Springs.
Schroyer was among dozens of motorists engulfed by the fast-moving floodwaters.
"I was driving up 24, and it wasn't raining that hard, and then all of a sudden, cars just started stopping in front of me," Schroyer told The Gazette.
"A cop turned on his lights, and gunned it in reverse, and sped by me, going the wrong way on the highway. I should have done the same thing, but I couldn't see what was going on," he said.
Schroyer told 7NEWS, "I pulled over and reached down to get my camera and when I looked back up it was just, 'Pow! Right in the nose.'"
"A giant black wave of mud slammed into my car. It turned my car completely around and washed me probably a few hundred feet down the highway to the east, until I finally came to rest on the side of the on-ramp," he told The Gazette.
Schroyer's video shows the rollercoaster ride as waves of mud splashed onto his windows and the black river rushed his car downhill and onto the roadside.
"Oh my God," he says repeatedly on the video as the wagon slams into the canyon's rocky walls and light poles. The car's flapping windshield wipers briefly sweep the mud away, so Schroyer can see what obstacles loom ahead. Boulders are tumbling in the torrent.
"Wow!" he says. "Oh my God, my car is totaled….I can't believe this. Highway 24 is completely flooded out…I can't see out my windows now. I don't know what the hell is happening."
His car finally stops in an eddy of the muddy river.
"The flood waters kept going and going, and I was stuck in my car for probably half an hour, until I climbed out of the window onto my car's roof and jumped to solid ground," Schroyer told his newspaper.
His Subaru was totaled.
Schroyer was shaken up but unhurt.
A couple in a car that wasn't washed downstream caught cars being swept down the highway.
Video link for mobile: http://youtu.be/bBQ4TKOR-9E