New York priest Tom Connery killed in flash floods after Halloween storm

Tom Connery was swept away in flash flooding resulting from the Halloween storm.

November 2, 2019, 10:55 AM

A New York priest was killed after being swept away in flash flooding resulting from a Halloween storm, officials said.

Father Tom Connery, 82, a longtime priest of the Diocese of Albany, died after being swept away in flash foods on Thursday, according to a statement from New York State Police.

Connery was driving through a roadway in the town of Norway that had already overflowed and was still getting pummeled with flooding, the statement read.

PHOTO: Father J. Thomas Connery died after getting caught in flash flood waters on Oct. 31, 2019.
Father J. Thomas Connery died after getting caught in flash flood waters on Oct. 31, 2019.
evangelist.org

Connery's 2017 Ford Fusion struggled to make it through, a witness told police, and became stuck after part of the road collapsed on the vehicle.

Connery got out of the car and tried to walk through the floodwaters to reach the witness, but lost his footing and "was washed downstream," police said.

"Due to the dangerously high and strong current, the witness was unable to help Mr. Connery," the statement continued.

Crews searched for Connery early Friday after the flood waters had receded. They found his body about a quarter-mile downstream, police said.

PHOTO: In this photo provided by the New York State Governor's Office, a man looks from a window of a house being flooded by rising waters of the East Canada Creek as police arrive in a rescue boat, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019 in Dolgeville, N.Y.
In this photo provided by the New York State Governor's Office, a man looks from a window of a house being flooded by rising waters of the East Canada Creek as police arrive in a rescue boat, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019 in Dolgeville, N.Y.
Darren McGee/New York State Governor's Office via AP

The storm battered the Eastern part of the country and brought 5 inches of rain to central New York. It resulted in a flash flood emergency for parts of Herkimer County, where Connery's vehicle became trapped.

Connery had been serving as a priest for 56 years, said Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger.

"We are so saddened to learn of Father Thomas Connery’s tragic death, but we know that he died as he lived -- serving the people of God without fear or concern for himself,” the bishop said in a statement to The Evangelist, the publication of the Diocese of Albany.

In Tennessee, another man died in the storm, according to the Knoxville Police Department.

George Walker, 79, was in his car Thursday when a large tree fell onto his vehicle. He was rushed to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, and where he died a short time later, police said.

ABC News' Matthew Foster and Daniel Manzo contributed to this report.

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