OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A family is filing a lawsuit two years after their loved one drowned when he was swept away by flooding.

Flood waters on Sept. 1, 2020, killed 49-year-old D’angelo “Monte” Williams as he tried to cross a spillway bridge on North Silver Lake Drive in the Silver Lake neighborhood near North MacArthur Boulevard and Britton Road.

His car got trapped in the high water, and when he exited the vehicle in an attempt to save his life, he was swept away and drowned. His body was found three days later.

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D’angelo “Monte” Williams, image courtesy of Williams’ family.

Williams’ family filed a lawsuit against the Silver Lake Homeowners Association and Silver Lake Inc. on Thursday, claiming a traffic barrier that’s supposed to be lowered during heavy rains was raised the night of Williams’ death.

“All they had to do was just lower that crossing gate,” said the family’s attorney Tom Cummings. “That’s what the gate was for, and when the gate’s up, that tells people it’s safe to go across.”

Attorney Mark Bailey is Cummings’ co-council on the case. He said Williams was driving to his mother’s house in the Silver Lake neighborhood, but tragically, the father of two never made it.

“All of his family was devastated, but his mother, initially, she wasn’t eating,” he shared. “She wasn’t sleeping. They’ve since sold the home. It’s too emotional for them to even be there, and, so, it’s been devastating.”

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Williams car became stuck in heavy floodwaters. Image KFOR

The family is suing for the pain and suffering that Williams endured during his death, as well as their own emotional and financial damages.

The attorneys tell KFOR they’re seeking accountability from Silver Lake Homeowners Association and Silver Lake Inc. as well.

“This is a system failure,” Cummings said. “Everything failed and a man died. They need to put a system in place with some kind of a backup where when we have rains that are going to cause this area to flood, that they actually use the safety system that they spent a lot of money buying and installing to lower the crossing guards to keep people from going out over this spillway when it’s dangerous to do so. If we as a community do not deter wrongful behavior, it’s going to occur again.”

A person who identified himself as a member of the Silver Lake Homeowners Association told KFOR Friday that they just learned of the lawsuit and won’t be able to comment until next week – when he has time to talk with other board members.

KFOR also reached out to a representing agent for Silver Lake Inc. and are awaiting comment.