Weather Alert

Woman, 5-year-old girl killed in Saint Hedwig flash flood

BEXAR COUNTY (KTSA News) — Two people are confirmed dead in a flash flood in Saint Hedwig Thursday morning.

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said an extended family had been traveling in two vehicles in the area of Greytown Road and FM 1518 at around 6:30 a.m. taking kids to school when their vehicles were swept away by high water over the roadway.

A man and four children were able to get out of their vehicles and be rescued, but a 52-year-old woman in one vehicle and a five-year-old girl in the other were unable to get out.  The vehicles were swept downstream.

Bexar County ESD No. 12 Assistant Chief Lawrence Padalecki said rescuers initially believed that everyone had gotten out on top of their cars and the two victims had been swept away in the water.  However, he said they later learned that they had not been able to get out and were inside the cars in 16-feet deep water.

Salazar said crews were able to remove the deceased girl’s body from that car.

“To see the body of a five-year-old pulled out of a car, she’s dressed for what I’m told was her first day of school.  She’s still wearing her backpack.  It doesn’t — I’m sorry.  It doesn’t get worse than that,” the sheriff struggled to say while holding back tears.

Rescue crews were not able to remove the woman from hers because of the conditions in the water.  Crews intend to go back out Friday morning — or when the water lowers — to retrieve her body.

FM 1518 and North Greytown Road will remain closed in the area since it is being treated as a crime scene.

The topic of the sheriff’s desire to have a boat within the office to use for water emergencies was raised by a reporter at a Thursday afternoon news conference since Schertz Fire Department had to be brought in to use their boat for the water rescue.

“I believe that if we had the equipment that we needed on hand, it would have gotten here quicker,” Salazar responded, though noted that Schertz was prompt with their response.  “But still, it took a while to get equipment from another county that we could have brought to bear much quicker.  Every time a call like this comes out, my heart jumps ’cause it’s like you want to get in there, you want to do what you need to do, but we don’t have the necessary tools.”

The question of whether this family knew that there was high water on the road ahead — whether there were signs or barricades alerting them of the issue.

In short, the crews on the scene were unsure.

“When I got here, there was no barricades out,” Padalecki told a reporter when asked.  “This is a unique situation.  We’re not inside the county.  I mean, we’re in Bexar County but we are inside the city of Saint Hedwig.  I’m not going to point fingers, I’m not going to do any of that because I am not going to turn this into any of that.  But all I can say is there was no barricades out when we were getting here.”

They also said the crews were responding from the opposite direction that the cars were heading, so they were not sure what the situation was on the other side.

 


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