in 1993 a Missouri man purposely damaged a levee on the Mississippi river to delay his wife coming home from work so he could party. Instead the river flooded 14,000 acres. He was later arrested and convicted of causing a catastrophe and sentenced to life in prison.
The Scotts, along with several other residents living in and around Quincy and Hannibal, spent much of mid-July reinforcing the West Quincy levee. By July 16 the river had stopped rising and had actually dropped 1.5 feet (46 cm) below the levee. That night, however, the levee unexpectedly failed when the river burst through its main stem. The resulting flood inundated 14,000 acres (57 km2) on the Missouri side of the river. In one of the more spectacular incidents, a barge was sucked into the levee and slammed into a gas station, causing a fire.
The flood washed out all of the bridges in the area—the only links across the river for 200 miles (320 km). While no one was killed, many people on the Missouri side of the river had to drive 80 miles (130 km) to either St. Louis or Burlington, Iowa, fly or take a ferry to get across the river for several weeks after the waters receded. One major bridge, the Bayview Bridge, was out of service for 71 days. Several businesses in West Quincy were also destroyed.
A reporter for WGEM-TV, the NBC affiliate in Quincy, collared Scott as he was walking the levee. Scott said that he’d seen a weak spot on the levee and tried to put more sandbags along it. He then said he went for a drink, only to come back and discover the levee had let go. He then helped the Coast Guard load boats into the floodwaters.