• December 24, 2014

Couple who died in flood honored by bridge dedication

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Posted: Thursday, September 17, 2009 12:00 pm | Updated: 8:17 am, Thu Aug 16, 2012.

By Alicia Lacy

The Cove Herald

On Friday county officials and relatives of the late Jesse Scott Hornsby, 75, and his wife Gloria Evelyn Hornsby, 73, will dedicate the Jesse and Gloria Hornsby Memorial Bridge. The new bridge is near the site where the couple died more than two years ago when their van was swept off the road by floodwaters.

The memorial bridge at the Arrowhead crossing will make travel to and from the Big Valley subdivision safer for residents whose homes are isolated from the rest of the world and evacuation routes when heavy rains hit the area. The two low water crossings that lead to and from the community posed a safety risk for those who try to brave them during storms.

Sonya Brend, who moved into the subdivision in May, said it wasn't long before she noticed the problems when it rained.

"My husband has a big truck and he had to wait a couple of hours before he could cross," she said. "When it rains, people can't come in and people can't get out."

Brend said several residents have defibrillators in case of an emergency because of emergency vehicles' inability to reach the residents.

The bridge has been a work in progress since May 24, 2007 when the Hornsbys died. Since then residents of the Big Valley subdivision have fervently worked with county officials towards a safe solution.

The county applied for a grant that was

approved in Novermebr 2007 through the state's Office of Rural and Community Affairs to have the bridge constructed at the Arrowhead site.

Since the approval the county has been waiting for hydrology reports, environmental reports and a design for the proposed bridge.

In April, the Coryell County Commissioners Court accepted a $231,000 bid from Ellis-McGinnis Construction Company in Eddy to construct the bridge Construction began in July and wrapped up at the end of August.

During the spring months of 2007, Copperas Cove experienced severe flooding.

In May, the Hornsbys were traveling to their home in Big Valley in their white Dodge Caravan when their vehicle careened off the road and became lodged between two trees about 30 yards down Clear Creek. The van flipped more than 180 degrees, crossing the creek in the process.

The Hornsbys' bodies were found nearly a mile down the road from where their vehicle was located.

The dedication of the new bridge will start at 2 p.m. at the Arrowhead Road bridge.

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