Harvey And The Storm’s Aftermath, Death Toll Rises to 50
At least close to 50 people – including a veteran Houston police officer – have died or are feared dead in the Houston area and beyond in flooding or conditions associated with Tropical Storm Harvey, according to local officials.
Among those is a family of six whose van was swept away by floodwaters in east Houston near Greens Bayou on Sunday afternoon. The van driver was trying to transport his elderly parents and their four great-grandchildren away from rising floodwaters but encountered high water. The driver survived but was unable to pull out the other occupants. The van was recovered Wednesday, Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said.
Houston Police Sgt. Steve Perez, 60, drowned in his car in floodwaters Sunday morning, officials said Tuesday. The officer, who served in the HPD for 34 years, was driving to work when he entered an underpass and got trapped in high water at Beltway 8 and the Hardy Toll Road. His body was found Tuesday by a police dive team.
Medical examiners are in the process of confirming which deaths are related to Harvey. And authorities are still searching for missing people believed to have perished. Local officials fear as floodwaters finally recede, the death toll will rise dramatically.
Rescuers in Houston began searching block-by-block Thursday to find anyone, dead or alive, that may have been left behind in the floodwaters from Harvey, which damaged tens of thousands of homes.
Here is a list of some of the confirmed dead and those feared to be deceased:
* Agnes Stanley, an 89-year-old Audubon Houston volunteer, died over the weekend. She was found Sunday morning in 4 feet of water in her one-story brick home in the 4300 block of Meyerwood, inside the southwest edge of the 610 Loop near Stella Link.
* Travis Lynn Callihan, 45, was pronounced dead at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital around 3 p.m. Monday. He perished after exiting a vehicle and falling into floodwaters.
* Batool Qasem, 76, died after driving into high water and leaving her vehicle on Warrenton Drive in Houston Saturday evening. She was found floating in floodwaters near her vehicle in the Buffalo bayou area.
* Jorge Raul Perez, 33, and Yahir Rubio-Vizuet, 45, were found floating in water by the Houston Fire Department on Tuesday. They were among four men reported missing after setting out in a small boat with three others to assist neighbors in northeast Houston. The group encountered swift water in Greens Water and struck a power line, shocking the boaters and tossing them into the water. The three survivors were found suffering from burns and were taken to the hospital for treatment. The bodies of the two other missing volunteer rescuers were found Thursday. They are Gustavo Hernandez Rodriguez, 40, and a 33-year-old man believed to be Benjamin Vizuet.
* The body of Calvin Oran Montalbano, a 54-year-old man, was found Tuesday in a grassy area near the Eastex Freeway.
* Wilma Ratcliff Harris, 73, died Monday at LBJ Hospital after the Coast Guard found her floating during a search-and-rescue operation. NOLA.com reported that she had been found seemingly lifeless in floodwaters earlier Monday and resuscitated by a Louisiana man. Family members had desperately been seeking word on Harris, who got separated by relatives and was unable to speak.
* The body of Martin Salazar, 49, was found Wednesday in a ditch on Preston Avenue in Pasadena after evacuating his home.
* The body of Michael Tucker, 66, was found floating in 4 feet of water on Tuesday after leaving his residence.
* The body of Keisha Monique Williams, 32, was found at a fence on Woodforest Boulevard in Houston on Wednesday, after floodwaters receded.
* The body of Colby Henry Osorno, 24, was found Thursday in the Greens Bayou/Houston Ship Channel area.
* Manuel Acevedo, 67, found early Monday in an alleyway after floodwaters receded on Arkansas Street in East Houston.
* Efrain Angel, 26, who was found Tuesday morning in a drainage ditch near Harris County Katy Park.
* Authorities hadn’t yet identified several drowning victims: a man, age unknown, found floating in high waters on a residential street in the 7400 block of Claiborne; and a 65-year-old man who collapsed in floodwaters in the 4900 block of Airline Drive.
* Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted early Sunday about an unconfirmed report that a woman and child were inside a submerged vehicle along Interstate 10 near Lathrop. He later tweeted that deputies were not immediately able to reach the vehicle to confirm the deaths.
*An employee at the Omni Hotel in the Galleria was reported missing Monday and has not been located. Jill Renick has served as the hotel’s spa director, said Chris Palmquist, reservations supervisor at the hotel. Family members believed she tried to ride out the storm at the hotel, which was severely flooded, but she has not been located.
* A 54-year-old man was found who had died of drowning during storm rescue efforts in Dickinson on Aug. 27. No further details were immediately available, according to John Florence of the Galveston County medical examiner’s office.
*The body of a 59-year-old man who had died from drowning during the storm in Dickinson on Aug. 27. No further details were immediately available, according to Florence.
*An 83-year-old League City man died in another storm-related death. The cause of death is pending, according to Florence.
* An elderly woman died in her Santa Fe home on Saturday after her oxygen tank failed when the electricity went out, according to Florence. Crews recovered her body on Aug. 27.
*Another woman died in Texas City after she was unable to get dialysis during the storm and flooding; no details were available, Florence said.
* A Porter woman was killed when a tree – loosened by saturated ground – crashed onto her mobile home from Tropical Storm Harvey Monday afternoon. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office identified the victim as Lisa Jones, 60, of Porter. Authorities said Jones was asleep in the bedroom when the tree fell.
* A man in his 60s died after walking on Monday into floodwaters near Spring Park Ridge and the Grand Parkway in Spring, according to the South Montgomery County Fire Department. Passersby spotted the man enter the water and go into distress at about 11:30 p.m., but were unable to help him before he went under. A search that night was unsuccessful, but after residents reported finding the body of a man wearing the same clothes Tuesday night, deputies located the body and transported it to the medical examiner for identification.
* Joshua Aedan Feuerstein, 33, was caught in rapid floodwater on Fish Creek Thoroughfare near the Woodforest subdivision. Montgomery County Sheriff’s Capt. Bryan Carlisle said Feuerstein became distressed and tried to get help. Rescuers and bystanders were unable to get to him before he died, Carlisle said.
*Rockport’s mayor reported that one man died in a mobile home fire when Harvey made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Aug. 25.
*Two people were killed in Jasper County around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday when a tree fell on their truck traveling down FM 777. The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the deceased Wednesday as Russell Barnes, 51, and Ginger Barnes, 43, both of Alvin.
*Beaumont police on Wednesday recovered the body of a woman found floating in a residential area. She has not been identified.
*Orange County Judge Stephen Carlton said Wednesday that two people had died Monday night in the city of Orange and that the deaths were storm related, according to the Associated Press. He provided no other details.
SAN JACINTO COUNTY
*A San Jacinto County resident died in floodwaters near his residence on Aug. 28. Deputy constables have confirmed the death of Jimmy Capers, the uncle of Sheriff Greg Capers. Capers was reportedly herding cattle away from the floodwaters toward higher ground alongside friends and family members. Peter Sparta said Capers was possibly swept underwater by the current. Efforts to revive him after he spent about 5 minutes underwater were unsuccessful.
*An 83-year-old woman died after her vehicle was caught in floodwaters in Walker County, north of Houston. Officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety told the Associated Press that a state trooper checking the road early Tuesday morning came across Ola Mae Crooks’ vehicle. The trooper contacted the swift water rescue team, which recovered the body. Crooks apparently drowned when her car was swept off a farm-to-market road at the San Jacinto River near her home, Sgt. Steven McNeil told the Huntsville Item newspaper. He said a preliminary investigation suggests she was trying to cross a bridge.
*Authorities say the family of an elderly woman found her body partially submerged in water in her flooded home in Port Arthur, Texas. Justice of the Peace Brad Burnett told TV station KFDM on Saturday that the body of 88-year-old Dorothy Helen Lacobie in her bedroom. Burnett says the house had at least 2 feet (60 centimeters) of water in it.