Couple trapped in legal nightmare after '08 flood

Sharon Evans
Sharon Evans
By CJ Cassidy
ULLIN, IL (KFVS) - Most of us remember last year's floods and the struggle to recover, but one southern Illinois couple still faces a flood of legal problems related to all that water.
The Evans couple found themselves trapped in the middle of not one, but two lawsuits.
They say they were victims of the flooding like everyone else, so they don't understand how they ended up in this legal mess.
"I am losing stuff and being flooded out, there's a million and a half dollar lawsuit from the nursing home," Weldon Evans said.
He and his wife, Sharon, say that all adds up to one big nightmare.
Their problems began with last year's floods.  The invading waters damaged most homes in Ullin, including theirs, and the Cache Valley Senior Apartments across the street.
"They was flooded out before we was, I am sure, because we are higher up," Sharaon Evans said.
The apartments re-opened last year after getting a $25,000 check from the state.
But the Evans still find themselves in an even muddier legal mess.  A lawsuit holds them accountable for the water that flooded through the apartments.
The suit claims a small bridge in the Evans' backyard washed away and blocked a culvert under a railroad track, forcing water from the creek in the direction of the seniors who live here.
"Our bridge didn't cause the flood," Sharon said.  "Our bridge might have caused the water not to recede, but it was too late anyway. It wouldn't have saved our home much less anyone else's."
The Evans agreed to a settlement, which would pay Cache Valley $100,000, but then another problem cropped up.
"Now the railroad is suing me," Weldon said.
Turns out, Cache Valley also named Illinois Central Railroad in its lawsuit, and ICR lawyers plan to take the Evans to court if that settlement goes through.
"It really hurts because none of it was our fault," Sharon said. "We couldn't control Mother Nature!"
"We're just down to where we can't eat," said Weldon.  "We've got to file bankruptcy or something like that."
Incidentally, the Evans did not have flood insurance so they had to pay for their own damages out of pocket.
Representatives with Cache Valley refused to comment, and Attorneys for Illinois Central Railroad did not return calls from Heartland News.
We'll keep you posted on what happens next.