HIGHLAND, Ill. (KMOV.com) -- Pizza night is even more special for the Donaldson family after a terrifying experience Saturday night.

“When you go through something like that, everything little means something more, like eating frozen pizza with the kids that I’ve done so many times,” said Kaylie Donaldson.

That’s because Kaylie wasn’t sure they would survive Saturday night. They were on their way home from a basketball tournament in Carlyle, Illinois when the car’s GPS took her down Old State Road near Beckemeyer Road.

There were no barricades or road closure signs, but there was a permanent “Flood area ahead” sign partially covered by the evening’s snow. She went over a hill and all of a sudden saw water, but she had no idea how deep it was.

“All of a sudden it was so much on my windshield. Then it was like we dove into water and you saw it rising and immediately my first instinct was to open my door,” she said. Her toddler and twin 5 year old boys were in the car.

She was able to get out of the car with the toddler and yelled for her twins to follow. They were all submerged in the nearly nine feet of water.

“Freezing, absolutely freezing, it was so cold,” she said.

Despite her children not being able to swim, she managed to get them to the side. They had to cross over barbed wire fence which snagged the children’s clothing. They eventually made it to the main road and were able to flag down a car. But hypothermia was setting in, and her five year old collapse. It’s a moment this mom can barely talk about.

“Your immediate thought is your kid is possibly dying,” she said through tears.

The family was rushed to the hospital and were treated. They are physically okay.

Tyler Donaldson has nothing but admiration for the strength his wife showed during the terrifying moments.

“After talking to EMS she had basically seconds to make this decision and because of her and her decision, they all lived, thank God that they’re all still with us,” he said.

The Donaldson’s say thank you to the first responders, the people who stopped to help and everyone who has supported them in the last several days.

News 4 did notice on one end of Old State Road there was a road closed sign, but not on the side Donaldson drove down. We have reached out to the Clinton County Highway Department to find out why there’s only one sign and if any changes could be made in the future.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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