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Coach’s owner, manager talk about ordeal after being trapped inside flooded bar

After floodwaters crashed through the wall of Coach’s Bar & Grill early Thursday, Brian Darby started sending out goodbye texts to his family.

“It’s the most scared I’ve ever been,” Darby said on the telephone as he waited along with business partner Chris Donna-Louise Carle to be rescued by firefighters.

Shortly before 8:30 a.m., Carle and Darby were rescued by firefighters, emerging through the roof of the business near 103rd Street and Wornall Road. They became trapped when water quickly rose and broke through a wall of their business. Firefighters rescued others early Thursday when people got caught in vehicles and buildings as flash flooding affected the region.

Carle and Darby climbed to the ceiling where it was “hot and dark,” Darby said.

Darby, after being rescued, waved to friends and family who had assembled on the street nearby. Later, he said he felt embarrassed but thankful by the ordeal.

“We put our lives in danger, and they (firefighters) came and got us,” he said. “We appreciate that. They did their job above and beyond.”

Carle echoed him.

“We were embarrassed that all the people had to come help us because we were too stupid to get out,” she said. Still, she was happy to see all of her friends and family after being rescued.

Prior to the rescue, Darby spoke with The Star while he and Carle were trapped in the ceiling.

After seeing that heavy rains had fallen across the area, the two had gone to check for possible flooding and save paperwork. But rising floodwaters quickly trapped them.

“We got here about 4 a.m., and I wasn’t too worried,” he said. “The water started coming in the parking lot.”

He and Carle started moving paperwork to the bar as the water started rising. But floodwaters eventually crashed through a wall and rushed in.

“We ran and jumped on top of the bar,” he said. “We saw very quickly that it wouldn’t hold us, so we jumped onto equipment.”

It was a beer cooler, but the water kept rising. So they removed ceiling tiles and climbed into the ceiling where they waited for firefighters to rescue them.

“It’s a total loss,” Darby said of the bar and grill. “We regret the Fire Department has to risk lives to save us.”

He also expressed concern for Coach’s employees. He said trying to save the paperwork was all for naught because of the damage.

After being rescued, Darby talked about the ordeal.

“We were scared in there,” he said. “I’ve never been in something like that. It was stupid, that’s for sure — trying to save property. I’m sorry I put my friends and family through that today. It’s been a rough morning.”

The two were inside the building for hours while they waited.

“It was hot and dark,” Darby said. “The Fire Department kept in constant contact. They earned their money today.”

Overnight storms dumped a deluge of heavy rains across the Kansas City area, leading to serious flooding, several closed roads and water rescues early Thursday.

The Kansas City Fire Department responded to numerous water rescues early Thursday — from 43rd Street in midtown Kansas City south to 155th and Troost, including the Ward Parkway area, Kansas City Fire Chief Paul Berardi said on Twitter.

It was just a few months ago that Brian Darby’s father, Mike Darby, who was co-owner of Coach’s, was killed along Indian Creek Trail in May.

Mike Darby was slain as he walked his two black dogs along the trail between Wornall and Holmes roads.

No charges have yet been filed in the case. Mike Darby was one of four slain victims found on or near the Indian Creek and Blue River trails in an approximately nine-month span.

Kansas City police reported “obvious similarities” being present in the killings but that no evidence suggested the cases are related.

Robert A. Cronkleton: 816-234-4261, @cronkb

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