Houston Police Officer Drowns After Being Trapped In Floodwaters

A police officer has become yet another victim of Hurricane Harvey after accidentally driving his patrol car into a flood zone on the way to work.

People sit on the back of tow truck driving through flood water.

The death toll after Hurricane Harvey has reportedly risen to 15 victims, among them a police officer identified as Steve Perez, 60, who drowned in the floodwaters Sunday morning. 

"He was trying different routes, and took a wrong turn," a law enforcement official told the Houston Chronicle.

According to reports, the police force veteran of 30 years was driving to work in downtown Houston when he found himself suddenly trapped in a flood zone.

The New York Post reported that officials had informed them that Perez had tried to get out of his patrol car, but the waters were too treacherous.

On Tuesday, search and rescue crews worked to recover his body, and once his identity was confirmed, they formally delivered the tragic news to his family. 

Hurricane Harvey slammed into southeast Texas with 130 mph winds. The tropical storm has devastated Houston and the surrounding regions. According to The New York Times, Gov. Greg Abbot called it "one of the largest disasters America has ever faced," and Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency Brock Long said he expects it to take years for the area to recover.

As catastrophic flooding continues and search and rescue workers scour the communities for survivors, authorities are expecting to uncover more tragedies. The aftermath of storms like Harvey are marked by heartbreak, and as Long said while encouraging Americans to support its victims, moving forward will be about helping Texas "find a new normal."

Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters photographer Nick Oxford

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