Houston police officer, part of Harvey response, drowns in vehicle, report says

'You got the baby?' | Video shows HPD chief rescue stranded residents

'You got the baby?' | Video shows HPD chief rescue stranded residents

Houston officials on Tuesday confirmed the death of police Sgt. Steve Perez, who drowned in his auto on Sunday after being trapped by Harvey floodwaters as he was attempting to drive to work.

Increasing fears, Perez' wife "advised us that she had not seen her husband since 4 a.m. on the 27th".

"In the darkness, Sgt. Perez drove under an underpass. and drove into the water", he said.

Houston police officers have rescued at least 3,400 people since the storm started, Police Chief Art Acevedo said on Monday. After Perez drove on dark roads for two-and-a-half hours while trying to get to his duty station in downtown Houston, Perez called his commander to say he couldn't make it in, Acevedo said. Perez was assigned to the city's traffic enforcement division, but he was unable to find a path to the station.

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Perez was a "dedicated individual that would not just show up to work", Acevedo said. "We utilized other investigative techniques to try to locate him", said Acevedo.

The department's dive team finally located the officer's body around 8 a.m. Tuesday.

"We made a decision to leave officers there waiting until the morning, because as much as we wanted to recover him last night, we could not put more officers at risk for what we knew in our hearts was going to be a recovery mission", the chief said. The family has yet to be notified.

With the officer's death, Hurricane-now Tropical Storm-Harvey, or the rains it generated after making landfall, has killed 15 people in Texas.

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