West Quincy levee break remembered on 20th anniversary

Levee break at West Quincy in 1993

Today marks the 20th anniversary of one of the Tri-State's biggest catastrophes.

On this day in 1993, the West Quincy Levee broke sending flood waters surging into the Fabius Drainage district.

At the time, no one saw it coming.

The Mississippi river had crested just three days earlier, and the West Quincy levee was still holding steady at the time as flood waters began to go down.

But when the levee broke, it shocked everyone in the area.

Several barges were sucked through the levee.

One submerged and another crashed into the Ayerco Gas station, causing an oil slick and fire on the surface of the water.

Traffic between Missouri and Illinois was halted; with drivers traveling hundreds of miles to get across the river.

But those who had worked the levee that day couldn't understand how it could have happened.

An Illinois man Jimmy Scott was arrested that fall and was later convicted of moving sandbags to cause the West Quincy levee breach.

Scott has spent most of the past 20 years serving a life sentence causing a catastrophe.

KHQA spoke with him earlier this year at the Jefferson City prison. Click here for his complete story.

He still admits to moving some sandbags while on patrol, but denies anything else.

"If my actions caused it to fail, that wasn't my intention. But, you know, to this day, I don't believe my actions caused the levee to fail," Scott said.

It will be at least a decade before Scott is eligible for parole.

Please share your memories of that fateful day and event below or on our Facebook page here.

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