Deputies hailed as heroes in water rescue

HARLINGEN — The 911 recording says it all.

A hysterical young man called asking for help the day of the heavy June flooding. The stranded man attempted to drive his truck against the heavy rain but got stuck and fell into a ditch located between Coco and Louisiana roads in Santa Rosa.

While he talked to the 911 dispatcher, Cameron County Precinct 5 deputies Baltazar Ramirez Jr. and Andrew Gonzalez listened to directions while they drove to the destination to offer help.

In recognition of their efforts, which helped rescue the stranded driver from drowning, Precinct 5 Constable Eddie Solis presented the deputies with plaques yesterday morning inside his office at the Cameron County Annex in Harlingen.

According to Solis, the pair had already been working a 10-hour shift, but they continued to work amid the storm.

Solis said he admired the work of every department working during the June floods, but especially the dedication of deputies Alvarez and Ramirez.

“They did an outstanding job and deserve recognition. Hopefully, the department can receive more equipment to be prepared when cases like this happen,” he said.

Gonzalez reminisced about that night and said they were glad they were able to get there on time.

“Deputy Ramirez was driving and that is really how we were able to get to him as soon as possible,” Gonzalez said.

“When it is a call like that, you have to get there as soon as possible. It could have been a lot worse,” he said.

The man was trapped inside his truck as water was coming in. The 911 dispatcher advised him to try to break the window with his keys, but he could not.

Before this rescue, the pair had helped a family that was also stranded with their children. Both deputies had to carry one of them on their backs.

“It is about adapting to the situation and getting the individual out as soon as you can. Without the driving of Deputy Baltazar in the high water I don’t think we would have made it through,” Gonzalez said.