Rookie Deputy Drowned, Car Flipped in Floodwaters on Third Night of Patrol

Deputy Loren Vasquez of the Waller County Sheriff’s Office in Texas drowned in the line of duty after her patrol car was caught in floodwaters on the night of Oct. 31.

The 23-year-old police officer was heading to investigate a “high priority water rescue call,” the Waller County Sheriff’s Office said. There had been heavy rain and strong winds that had swept through the greater Houston area.

She was northbound on FM 362, when her patrol car somehow became airborne after driving onto a water-covered road, according to multiple reports.

The car then landed upside down in a water-filled ditch. Other deputies and police officers failed to reach her in time before water rushed inside.

According to ABC13, conversations heard over police radios showed that the rescue was a struggle.

“I can’t get the doors open … Can you break the window? … I’ve broken a window … I can’t get the doors open,” responding officials said to each other.

A deputy eventually reached Vasquez, and she was pulled out of the water. Video captured police officers saluting as her body was carried into an ambulance.

“She was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital Cypress where she was pronounced dead,” said a statement from the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Young and Dedicated

Vasquez lived in Waller County with her parents and younger brother. She graduated from Royal High School.

She had only joined the Waller County Sheriff’s Office this past May, and had just finished field training in a 20-week program.

Vasquez had just finished a 20-week field training program, and was only on her third patrol shift on the job.

“She was right out of the academy and excited to be employed with us, especially in the county where she lives,” Deputy Byron Fausset said, according to ABC13.

Waller County Sheriff R. Glenn Smith posted a message on Facebook saying, “Words will never express what our office is going thru and we can only ask for your prayers.”

“I can tell you I interviewed her myself when she first applied, and she told me she wanted to service the citizens of Waller County proudly,” Chief Deputy Craig Davis recounted to ABC13.

“And as cliché as they may sound to some folks, I could see in her eyes and face that she meant every word of it,” he said.

Besides having been a deputy, Vasquez was also a volunteer firefighter in Brookshire for the past seven months. The Brookshire Fire Department said it will honor her by permanently placing her badge and helmet in the station bay.

Brookshire Volunteer Fire Chief Chief Lyndon Stamps said Vasquez was dedicated to serving both departments equally, KPRC reported. 

“Although she was very young, she had a drive and ambition about herself that was very unique,” Stamps told KPRC.

Nearly 200 people gathered to pay tribute to Vasquez at a candlelight vigil on Nov. 1 in Brookshire.

“She was only there not even a year as a police officer and a short period of time she was gone,” Vasquez’s uncle, Francisco Cobio, told KPRC. “But look at all these people that are here.”

KPRV reported that Vasquez’s sense of humor and dedication to her job were topics of conversation among the crowd on the night. Her fellow deputies also said that Vasquez put her heart and soul into her job, including on the night she died.

“It was a call, she never hesitated, she never thought twice, she went to it,” Deputy Marcos Zepeda told KPRC.

“To save somebody else’s life. That’s the person she was.”

NTD Photo
(Screenshot via Facebook)