HOUSTON -- Authorities have confirmed that there was a woman inside a vehicle they have been working to recover from a flooded underpass in the Galleria-area, bringing the death toll to eight in southeast Texas.
Crews began pumping water out of the underpass of the Post Oak exit on the Westpark Tollway Monday. When they finally were able to reach the SUV, they found the victim in the third row.
The Harris County Toll Road Authority says the exit was blocked off to keep drivers from going into the underpass, but video from roadway cameras showed the victim driving around a truck barricading the roadway and into the high water. A worker inside that truck followed the car and tried to swim to save the driver, but after two attempts, he started to worry about his own safety and retreated. Officials believe the victim's car was submerged in at least 20 feet of water.
Earlier Tuesday, another woman was found dead in a completely submerged vehicle in a ditch along Briarcreek Blvd in north Harris County.
Family members have identified the deceased as 41-year-old Teri Rodriguez. They say Rodriguez was driving home from her sister's house around 3am when she drove down a flooded roadway.
An hour later, authorities found her car submerged in 10 feet of water near FM1960, east of 45.
"We are broken. We are devastated," said Alex Rodriguez, the victim's brother-in-law. "She thought she could make it and she didn't."
On Monday, six other potential flood-related deaths in the Houston area were reported. Five of those were in Harris County.
A man and woman were found inside two separate vehicles in the 3600 block of the West Loop South. One of those victims was identified as Sunita Singh, and the other was 36-year-old Suresh Talluri.
The driver of an 18-wheeler, 61-year-old Pedro Rascon Morales, was found inside a cab submerged under water in the 800 block of the North Sam Houston East Parkway, and there was another man -- 66-year-old German Antonio Franco -- who was found unresponsive in a flooded vehicle in the 17400 block of Imperial Valley Drive. His daughter tells Eyewitness News he was a retired HEB produce manager who was working part time as a contracted limousine driver for the city of Houston. He was the job Monday morning, says Annamaria Franco, who described him as a beloved father and husband of 43 years. He had three children and four grandchildren.
In Waller County, Royal ISD teacher Charles Odum, 56, was found in a vehicle submerged under water, and in Austin County, a woman also reportedly drowned when she drove into high water.