Just like any other Monday, Lindsy Doan was driving her 5-year-old son, Kyle, to Lillian Larsen Elementary School in San Miguel, where she works as a special education teacher and her son is in kindergarten.
The Doans have passed the intersection of San Marcos Road and Wellsona Road near the San Marcos Creek numerous times before, according to Brian Doan, Kyle’s father and Lindsy’s husband. They were there on Sunday during the storms that continued to hit California for over a week, and it looked good.
And when Lindsy Doan got there on Monday morning, there were no signs indicating the road was closed, her husband said. The moment she realized the intersection had been flooded, the Chevrolet Traverse she and Kyle were in began to be swept away by the floodwaters into the creek.
The car hit a tree and began to fill with water. Lindsy Doan couldn’t open Kyle’s door and told him to unbuckle his seat belt, take her seat, and leave his things behind.
“He was calm. He was trying to say, ‘Calm down, Mom,'” said Brian Doan, his voice cracking. “She was doing her best.”
The pair jumped out of the car, but the current was too strong and they got separated. Lindsy Doan found herself close to the banks of the creek and started screaming for help. A few nearby owners managed to grab a rope and rescue her from the waters, but Kyle was too far down the creek by that point.
Kyle was still missing as of Wednesday night.
“I just want parents to give their own kids an extra squeeze,” said Lindsy Doan. “We missed that opportunity with Kyle. It’s hard to see kids going back to school knowing that Kyle should be there too. Hug your kids extra tight and just be thankful you have them because any minute, they could be gone.
“My wife feels really bad that she survived this and not him,” said Brian Doan. “She did the right thing by getting him out of the car. The San Miguel Fire Department told me they saw the car move and was pushed upside down into the creek.
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office resumed its search for Kyle on Wednesday, using aerial and drone operations and underwater teams, according to a press release. More than 100 members of the California National Guard joined the search effortwhich was temporarily suspended on Monday afternoon due to unsafe weather conditions, but resumed on Tuesday morning.
Kyle is four feet tall and 52 pounds, according to the Sheriff’s Office. He has short dark blonde hair and brown eyes; he was wearing blue jeans, a black jacket with red lining, and blue and gray Nike sneakers.
Monday would be Kyle’s first day back from vacation, and he was looking forward to going to school for the first time since they had a metal rod removed from his femur in November. A year ago, an injury left Kyle with a shattered fracture in his leg, and the family waited anxiously for months for the rod to be removed.
“We thought we were over it, so this is really bittersweet and upsetting in a lot of different ways,” said Brian Doan.
The family had taken a cruise to Los Angeles just before Kyle went back to school. They weren’t allowed to disembark because of the weather, but Kyle enjoyed the trip and enjoyed the waterslides.
“It was a nice trip and something we did as a family before going back to school,” said Brian Doan. “You hold on to those moments.”
Kyle is the youngest of three children, with his older sister in high school and older brother in college. He is very outgoing and likes to dance, according to his family. He was just starting to play football.
“He was a goofy guy,” said Brian Doan. “He tried to negotiate things [with us] and push boundaries. He was very energetic but he went through a lot with the injury last year and he was very resilient and got through it.”
Above all, the Doans want some kind of closure for Kyle.
“People struggle, as we all have in various ways over the last few years,” added Brian Doan. “You try to get ahead and something like this hits you.”
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