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Driver stranded on top of car in Russellville floods shares her story

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RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Gail Motes's car sat in the wrecker lot of M&N Towing in Russellville Thursday. It is hard to believe just 24 hours ago the whole thing was practically underwater, until you see the inside.  An inch of water stands on the floorboards. Mud covers the seats.

Motes was driving home along Highway 43 Wednesday evening when she decided to stop at the store to buy raisin bran and bread for her grandchildren. As she pulled into the parking lot, she felt her car begin to drift.

"The next thing I know, my car's floating," said Motes.

The flood waters carried her vehicle down into a culvert. Motes said she tried to get out as the water continued to rise.

"As soon as I opened that door, that water just rushed in. Finally I thought, well, this is getting deeper, I need to get on top of the car, so I got my purse and I had my bible."

The personalized bible reads "To Gail From Mother." It was given to her months before her mother died.

In her rush, Motes said she forgot her cell phone, so she sat on top of her car waiting to be rescued.

"The water was just rising so much and I'm sitting there thinking, well, what do I need to do if no one comes over here to help me."

Despite the scary situation, Motes said she was able to remain calm. Fighting off flood waters was no where near as intimidating as her last battle. She is currently in remission from breast cancer.

"When things get bad, I can really take care of things."

Thankfully, Motes did not have to put her emergency plan into action. A man approached her sinking car to help her to solid ground. Then a woman promptly wrapped her in a dry coat. She later learned her rescuers' identities as Mark Mitchell, a Russellville City employee, and his wife, Angela.

"There's good people out there. I'm so grateful to them," Motes said.

She is working with her insurance company, but she will likely have to replace her car, in addition to her cell phone. Motes said she will have to rely on rides from friends, though, because her insurance does not cover the cost of a rental car.

In the meantime, she is left with a scintillating, albeit soggy, saga.

"If I had not been there, I don't know if I would have believed anybody else."