Houston officer Steve Perez drowns in flood while heading to work

Posted August 30, 2017

The officer, an HPD veteran who has been with the department for more than 30 years, was in his patrol vehicle driving to work downtown Sunday morning when he got trapped in high water at I-45 and the Hardy Toll Road.

Acevedo said Perez never arrived to work on Sunday and contacted his wife, who said she had not heard from him since 4 a.m. that morning.

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

Sgt. Steve Perez, 60, had worked 34 years with the department, Acevedo said at a news conference. He said that was when a search was launched to find Perez. They narrowed their search to the Hardy Tollway and Beltway 8, Acevedo said.

At least nine people are reported to have died, and rescuers are still trying to reach others that remain stranded. "Even though we had a high probability he was gone, we always held on to hope", the chief said, adding that he told Perez' wife that they were still looking for him and checking hospitals.

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"We could not put more officers at risk for what we knew in our hearts would be a recovery mission", he said.

Chief Acevedo says Sgt. Perez was one of the sweetest people in the department, calling him a gentle public servant. The department has not yet formally notified the officer's family. The officer's wife had urged her husband not to go to work that day because conditions were too unsafe, as did his father-in-law, Acevedo said.

Chief Arcevedo said he was "heartened" by the fact he soon realize of the Perez family that this was a "family of faith, faith in God, there's hope in eternal life".

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump headed to Texas Tuesday to survey the damage caused from Hurricane Harvey and show their support for Texans affected by the largest natural disaster to hit the state in more than a decade.