Law officials are there to aid and be of good help to others. But sometimes things don’t turn out that way. According to information posted on local10, Sgt. Steve Perez, 60, a Houston veteran police officer, allegedly died when he drove his police vehicle into the floodwater that was covering the Hardy Toll Way according to a statement Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo put out on Tuesday. Perez had been with the force for 34 years and was praised by Acevedo for his dedication to his job.
Perez’s wife and father-in-law did not want her husband to go out in the after math of Hurricane Harvey, and asked Perez to stay at home because the conditions outside were just too dangerous:
“And his response was, ‘We’ve got work to do,’” the chief said, choking back tears.
On Sunday, around 4 a.m. Perez left his home headed downtown to his duty station as he was assigned to work in the traffic enforcement division. While in route, Perez was not able to find a safe route ” because flooding caused by tropical storm Harvey had made many roads impassable, Acevedo said at a news conference.” According to investigators, for two and a half hours, Perez attempted to find a way in before he called a superior and stated he would report to his secondary duty station stated the chief.
Monday morning Perez’s supervisor had noticed that he was not present at roll call and contacted his family. After contacting Perez’s family a search was launched to find the dedicated officer. Determining the last path that Perez presumably took, they were able to narrow it down to the Hardy Toll Road in Houston according to Acevedo and reported by the source. The search was put on hold after the dive team was called due to the rescue attempts being too treacherous Monday night:
“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.
Around 8 a.m. on Tuesday, the dive team located Perez’s body according to Acevedo. Perez drove into the floodwaters and died from being “in a drowning type event,” according to the police chief:
“Steve was one of the sweetest people I’ve met in this department,” Acevedo said. “I’ve only been here nine months and we’ve got, you know, 6,500 employees and I knew who Steve Perez was because he was a sweet, gentle public servant.”
The Houston police department were Perez worked, is taking the news of his death very hard, on top of police officers woring around the clock while floodwaters continued to rise.
Houston’s mayor acknowledged and honored Perez for his dedication: