A 25-year old woman from Houston, Texas, was tragically killed when she attempted to drive her SUV through a deeply flooded underpass at the eastbound Westpark Tollway exit to Post Oak at 6am Monday.
Following a public information request, the Harris County Toll Road Authority released a video of the incident from a surveillance camera, which shows Claudia Melgar driving a white Dodge Durango straight into 17-feet of rising waters.
In the footage, the woman is seen switching on a flashlight – possibly from her cellphone, as she tried to find a way out, but within seconds, the large SUV started sinking, before disappearing under water.
Tragically, it was reported that in another video that was not released by authorities, Melgar was shown avoiding a truck that was blocking the submerged exit, with a toll road worker purportedly seen chasing after the woman’s SUV when she passed the barrier, with some reports saying he even jumped into the water to save her. Unfortunately, the woman drowned.
“What happened was truly unfortunate. There was a barrier in place,” Harris County Judge Ed Emmett told Click2Houston. “We are going to work with TxDOT and the city. I’m going to take ownership of this. We’ve got to make it safe.”
Melgar is one of at least eight victims of the catastrophic floods that hit Houston this week.