HOUSTON – A Houston police officer drowned in his patrol car in Harvey floodwaters, according to three department officials.
The unnamed veteran officer has been with the department for more than 30 years. He was in his patrol car driving to work downtown Sunday morning when he got trapped in high water at I-45 and the Hardy Toll Road, reported chron.com.
Search and rescue crews are currently recovering his body. The department has not yet formally notified the officer’s family. Therefore, his name has not been released.
“He was trying different routes, and took a wrong turn,” one high-ranking official said, asking not to be identified.
After getting trapped in high water, the officer tried to get out but was unable to.
To date, the officer’s death is the 15th fatality in Texas claimed by Hurricane Harvey or the rains it spawned after making landfall.
The storm has pushed the city’s first responder abilities to their limit. Houston police officers and fire fighters and other first responders as well as volunteers have rescued thousands of people in duress along the Gulf Coast over the past four days.
UPDATE: Sgt. Steve Perez, 60, has been identified as the deceased HPD officer. He died on Sunday morning during Harvey, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner confirmed during a news conference Tuesday. Perez was heading to work when he was caught in floodwaters.
— Sylvester Turner (@SylvesterTurner) August 29, 2017
(Photo courtesy Bryan Haire)