Body found in SUV submerged in flood waters

April 29, 2009 10:30:15 AM PDT
Authorities have found a body inside an SUV at Beltway 8 and I-10 in west Houston. The vehicle had been submerged until Tuesday's floodwaters subsided. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Dive team members entered a drainage tunnel near the Beltway and I-10 around 9:30am Wednesday. Strong currents hampered the search efforts on Tuesday. Within 20 minutes, they located a small SUV upright inside the tunnel.

Lt. R.J. Kleczynski with the Houston Police Department said, "It was standing on its front end, with the back end wedged up against the top of the tunnel. There's a lot of debris inside the tunnel that the divers are having to contend with. The victim is still inside the vehicle."

Family members of a missing man arrived on the scene a short time later. They arrived out of fear that the SUV that police found about 1,000 feet inside the tunnel belonged to a 43-year-old father and husband.

"He's been missing since Tuesday, about 4:30am," said a family spokesperson. "He headed to work."

Eyewitness Chris Jordan said he was helping a stranded co-worker around 4:30am when he saw the victim drive into the flood water. He initially thought the driver was a woman, likely due to poor visibility during the storm. When he realized the driver was in danger he jumped out of his car, ran into the water and grabbed the vehicle's rear bumper. He says the current was too strong and the SUV was swept away.

Jordan described the early morning scene as extremely nerve-wracking. He said the rain was coming down so fast there was very little time to act. Family members identify the victim as Apolonio Fuentes. That has not been confirmed by the medical examiner's office, but authorities on the scene say they have no reason not to believe the family because they have given an accurate description of the victim and the vehicle.

      Headline check | 100 most recent local stories | News alerts
            Slideshow archive | ABC13 wireless | Help solve crimes


Load Comments