Commerce postmaster Chris Mitrisin said Toney, a 1997 Banks County High School graduate and former Marine, took it in stride, maintaining his always even-keel demeanor.
“He called about 12:30 and was really low key and not excited and he said, ‘Sir, there’s a problem with a road. It washed out and my car is gone.’ And I was like ‘your car is gone?’” said Mitrisin.
Toney hit some standing water at about 45 or 50 mph on Mercury Grand Marquis on Duncan Swindle Road.
“It was like I hit a brick wall,” he said.
The flash-flood rains had wiped out the culvert on the Madison County road. And Toney was suddenly in a potentially fatal situation as his car teetered momentarily with the front half in the water and the back half on the roadway.
Toney didn’t panic. He put the car in park, grabbed his scanner and leapt out of the vehicle, which rotated and was soon swept away in the current. The vehicle wasn’t recovered until several hours later over 600 yards from the incident.
“He put the car in park and turned the engine off and when he put it in park it braced the car just enough on the side of the road (to make an escape),” he said.
Toney suffered some soreness but was not injured and he was right back on the job the next day in the vehicle of the route carrier he was subbing for.
“I’ve had worse days,” said Toney of the experience.
Mitrisin said the recovered vehicle included 10 bags of undelivered mail, which he compared to the consistency of wet toilet paper, adding that the Commerce Post Office staff is sifting through the mail to see what is salvageable. He said the route has 596 deliveries and 360 didn’t get their mail Friday. He is planning to send notices to those who didn’t get their deliveries.