2 dead, 2 missing in Washington County floodwaters

Young father drowns in high water

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Texas – Two men are missing, a woman has drowned and a young father drowned in floodwaters in Washington County Friday, officials said.

The family of a missing Navasota man, presumed swept away in floodwater, is not giving up hope he is still alive.

Darren Mitchell, 21, disappeared Thursday night when his truck went off a bridge on SH 105 between Brenham and Navasota.

"He could be out there hurt and if he is hurt we don't want him to be out there another night," Roberta Washington, said.

The search for Mitchell had been postponed earlier Friday when a new round of storms came through the area.

Mitchell's pickup truck was found overturned on the banks of an unnamed creek, that became a roaring torrent of water during Thursday's storms.

Mitchell, a new father, was on his way back home in Navasota when his truck left the road. He called both his mother and sister when the water started to rise around him.
"He was trying to get her to pick him up but she couldn't understand him because in the country she didn't have a signal," said Octavia Scurry, one of Mitchell's sisters.

Mitchell posted an ominous shot on Facebook, documenting his predicament, as he sat in his truck with the water rising around him.

"And all I wanted to do was go home," Mitchell posted at 6:29 p.m.

Just before sunset, Friday, a small search and rescue team descended on the area looking for the missing man.

They had not located Mitchell by nightfall.

"I am about to be in ninth-grade, I want him to be there when I graduate high school," Scurry said. 

Another family is holding onto hope as well.

"He said the water was coming in the car...” said Riyaaz Umatiya. Her father, Pyarali Umatiya, 56, was driving along Highway 50, near 105, Friday when the water started to rise and he called his family in a panic.

According to Umatiya’s son, his father was very scared when he talked to him over the phone, saying he was alone and did not know how to swim.

According to the family, he drove from his home in College Station to Brenham for work. He called his son around 6:45 a.m. and said water was coming up over the road. A short time later he called and said the water was coming Into his truck.

They never heard from him again.

Jimmy Schaefer was found dead in a flooded vehicle near Prairie Hill and FM 50.

Investigators said a witness saw Schaefer drive his truck into high water on Thursday. The truck stalled and the victim moved to the back. Before he could be rescued, the truck got pulled into the creek and swept away by the water. Around 9 a.m. Friday, water rescue teams spotted the man and his vehicle.

The second victim is a woman in her 50s found drowned near a trailer home on FM 1155 and Chapell Hill. She was found in the eastern-most part of the county between Washington and Chapell Hill, approximately 20 miles from the center of Brenham.

Fire officials said they've executed about 45 rescues in the county since Thursday night.