A woman who drowned when she was swept away by storm waters in a Riverside canal and dragged more than eight miles downstream to a Corona reservoir was identified Friday.
Stacie Mills-Nichols, 20, of Riverside, died Thursday morning during heavy rains and flash flooding in the Riverside metropolitan area.
According to Corona police Detective Jason Waldron, Mills-Nichols and her boyfriend, a 35-year-old transient identified as James Felix, had been camped beneath the Riverside (91) Freeway in the storm canal that runs past the intersection of Indiana and La Sierra avenues in Riverside.
When the torrential downpours began late Wednesday night, the pair remained there and were caught in the canal as water levels rose four to five feet, Waldron said.
He said Felix and Mills-Nichols were both swept away shortly after 6 a.m. Thursday, with the fast-moving waters pushing them toward the Prado Reservoir in Corona.
Riverside police Officer Ryan Railsback said the victims became separated in the channel. An employee at Monster Energy Corp. at Crouse Drive and Sampson Avenue in Corona, overlooking the channel, heard Felix screaming for help and called 911, according to Railsback.
When first responders brought the victim out of the canal, he immediately directed them to search for Mills-Nichols, Railsback said.
He said the woman was found floating unconscious near Auburndale Street in a waterway that flows into the Prado Reservoir.
Corona Fire Department paramedics attempted to resuscitate Mills-Nichols as she was transported to Corona Regional Medical Center, but she was pronounced dead on arrival, according to Railsback.
Waldron said Felix was treated for exposure and other injuries, none of which were life-threatening.
Corona fire Capt. David Johnson said that, including Mills-Nichols, nine individuals were pulled from stormwater canals in Corona Thursday. She was the only fatality.