Strong currents from a creek swollen by flash floods swept away a 15-year-old boy, who had survived the night by clinging to a tree branch, according to Peoria police.
Searchers had climbed down into a drainage ditch, searching for Demarcus Jackson and found him Monday morning in a tunnel beneath Interstate 74. Police said the teenager had some cuts but was able to walk on his own.
"To have an ending like this is just phenomenal," Police Capt. Mike Scally told the Peoria Journal Star.
Police had said Jackson was swimming in the creek on Sunday and that his brother and friend were able to escape the strong currents. The search for Jackson had been suspended Sunday night until the water would be safe for divers from the Peoria Fire Department to enter.
Waters had receded by Monday morning when two residents, April Eckhardt and Fred Robison, who lived nearby began their search for Jackson and found him in the tunnel. Eckhardt asked if he was Demarcus, and he confirmed.
"She hugged him, and they walked out," Scally said.
Severe storms on Sunday knocked out power to more than 10,000 Ameren customers in Peoria. More than 2,300 customers in Peoria County had remained without electricity as of Monday morning.
Vermilion County Airport in east central Illinois reported around 8.2 inches of rain from the Sunday night storms, the Champaign News-Gazette reported. The Illinois State Water Survey reported 2.4 inches of rain in Champaign.