3 dead after flooding in Travis County

Damage at Garza's home on Citation Avenue
Damage at Garza's home on Citation Avenue

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Three people have died in flood waters in Travis County since Friday.

The first victim was found on Friday afternoon in the 10300 block of FM 1625, he is described as a man in his late 40s or early 50s, his name has not been released at this time.

The second body, a man in his 30s, was found around 11 a.m. Saturday in the 11900 block McAngus. According to Lisa Block with Travis County Emergency Services, the man was in a car with two other people leaving COTA last night after work. They crossed a local bridge that was flooded and the car washed away. The driver was reported missing after he was washed away in the flood waters.

Inez Garza was swept away by flood waters on Oct. 30, 2015. Her husband was found. (Courtesy: Garza Family)
Inez Garza was swept away by flood waters on Oct. 30, 2015. Her husband, right, was rescued. (Courtesy: Garza Family)

One of the deceased, family members say is 67-year-old Inez Garza. Garza was last seen at her home in the 8300 block of Citation Avenue. Garza’s husband was initially reported missing, but was found a short time later. The Travis County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Saturday that the body of a woman in her 60s was discovered approximately 2 miles from her home off of Citation Avenue.

KXAN spoke with members of the Garza family initially late Friday night about how she was swept away. “He [Inez’s husband] was telling my grandma to hold onto something and make sure her head was above water and to grab onto anything possible. She was holding on to her dog Angel and she kept saying ‘I can’t swim, I can’t swim,'” said Inez’s granddaughter Andrea Garza.

On Saturday evening the Garza family received a phone call from the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, letting them know Inez Garza was found dead.

“We got the call and we were hoping and praying and holding out hope that the call would be a different call. But it was what it was, and we just kind of… took it as the only way we could,” James Fester, Inez’s son-in-law said. “I couldn’t ask for a better mother-in-law, just a better person. She was definitely a cornerstone, a very spiritually strong person, and she’s going to be missed.”

“If you were around my grandma you’d always laugh, you’d always smile, there was never a dull moment with her so the mood around here definitely lightened up throughout the day because we just realized, you know, we can’t – of course we can be sad all the time, but we’ve gotta cherish those happy moments and make sure those are kept alive because we don’t want her to ever be forgotten,” said Andrea.

“We know she’s up there and in a better place and she’s smiling down on us, and she’s our little angel now and so I’m happy now that she’s finally found a happy place,” Andrea said, fighting back tears.

Emergency Crews

Flash Flooding closed many roads and low water crossings, a full list of crossings is here. From midnight until 2 p.m. Friday, the Austin Fire Department had approximately 478 incidents in the city, of those dispatched calls, there have been at least 14 water rescues, 44 flood assist calls and 10 flood barricade calls.

Between the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday first responders with the  Austin-Travis County EMS were dispatched to 32 water related incidents. ATCEMS resources activated 4 Special Operations boat teams, staffed the Ditmar Shelter with an ATCEMS Community Health Paramedic, staffed 4 ambulances along with multiple single person rescues, transported 20 people from Buda to Bee Cabe via their Ambulance Bus (AMBUS) and kept the AMBUS staffed throughout the night.

The Austin Fire Department, STARFlight, local emergency service district fire departments, and Austin-Travis County EMS worked together to rescue and evacuate multiple individuals and pets to safe locations.

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