Family of driver killed in rain speaks out

May 17, 2010 10:30:45 AM PDT
A family is devastated after a mother drowned when her car got trapped in high water. Now, they're trying to cope with her sudden death and hope others heed the warning next time they see high water. We told you about the accident Friday night as breaking news.

The 47-year-old mother got her car stuck in a pond off the North Freeway and Parker.

Cassandra Bryant's family circled the pond where they lost her late Friday night.

"I was at home sleep and called her and she didn't answer her phone," Bryant's 15-year-old daughter, Destinee, said.

Police say around 10pm, during heavy rain and flooding, Bryant was driving south on the North Freeway service road when she encountered a portion of the service road that was flooded. She then backed up to avoid the flooded road and backed over the curb on the west side of the street onto private property, which was also flooded. Bryant then attempted to go south again, on the private property, and partially drove into a retention pond that's six to eight feet deep.

"She called me at 7:15 and said she was on her way home," said Cheryl Woodard, Bryant's sister.

Woodard says her sister was supposed to be on her way home from Home Depot.

During their final conversation, she even warned her about the high water.

"I told her the road was very, very bad and stuff," Woodard said. "I told her to get somewhere and get on the freeway and don't get on the feeder, period, to come home."

Bryant's last cell phone communication was at 8:30pm. Her body was recovered hours later. Police say response times were longer than usual due to traffic and flooding.

A witness told the victim to get out of her car but she refused because she was afraid of losing her car. Police say the car then floated out into the middle of the retention pond and sank.

While her family grapples with a tragic loss and unanswered questions, Destinee wallpapered a reminder of her mom on her cell phone.

"I love you, and I'm gonna miss you," she said.

In the evening, there is very little light here and no guardrail to separate a swollen pond from the feeder.

While there is a state standard for where guardrails should be erected, it's up to the landowner and designers to make it happen.

Government statistics show that more than half of the flood related deaths nationwide involve people in their vehicles.


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