Houston police officer drowns in Harvey flooding

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A Houston police officer drowned in his patrol car due to rising floodwaters from Harvey.

The Houston Police Department confirmed that 60-year-old Sgt. Steve Perez was driving to work in downtown Houston when he got trapped in high water on Interstate 45.

The officer attempted to flee his vehicle, but he was not able to get out.

Perez drove around for more than two hours trying to get to his duty command station in downtown before calling in to give an update. He was told report to the secondary station in Kingwood.

When he did not report for roll call, the chain of command knew a determined officer would have called to report his absence.

On Monday, authorities narrowed the search area to Beltway 8 and the Hardy Toll Road. They called on the Cajun Navy and the dive team for assistance.

Perez's body was found 8 a.m. Tuesday.

A tearful Chief Acevedo recounted the moment he told Perez's widow. She told him the sergeant refused to stay home when she asked him to.

Acevedo asked her, "How do you think he would have wanted to go? Watching or doing what he had been doing for 34 years?"

"Sergeant Perez lost his life serving the people of Houston," said Mayor Sylvester Turner.

Perez is survived by his wife, son and daughter.

"The death of Sergeant Perez reminds us of the dangers that police officers willingly face every day in order to serve this great city," the department said in a statement. "Like Steve, we will not waiver and we will not stop until we meet the immediate safety and security needs of the community."

Perez served with the Houston Police Department for 34 years. His death is the 15th official fatality due to Hurricane Harvey.