‘I’m in the water’: Mother recounts terrifying moments before son was rescued from flooded road in Prairie View

A 24-year-old had to be rescued from a flooded road
A 24-year-old had to be rescued from a flooded road

Prairie View – Shannon Ellis is counting her blessings after a firefighter pulled her son from an overflowed, raging creek in the middle of the night.

“There’s nothing but rushing water and I see my son over here scrambling on top of his car trying to stay out of the water,” Ellis recounted.

Ellis’ son, 24-year-old Javier Rivera, was swept away Tuesday, May 25, as he attempted to drive his car along Liendo Parkway in Prairie View, which was flooded.

Ellis said Rivera was driving to her home to pick up her husband for work.  The two work together as truck drivers, according to Ellis. 

Ellis said when her husband received a phone call from their son around 3 a.m., she didn’t think much of it. She said she figured he was calling to tell them he would be coming home late.

“All I hear is my son screaming that, ‘I’m in the water. I’m going under and I can’t get out. I can’t get out,’” Ellis said, recounting the phone conversation.

Ellis said she and her husband rushed to Liendo Parkway, only to find Javier wading in chest-high water.  She said he was sinking in the mud and had mere minutes before being fully submerged.

“We had our lights on and they still couldn’t see him because it was so dark and there was so much water,” Ellis said.

Cell Phone video of the incident showed deputies from the Waller County Sheriff’s Office and the Prairie View Fire Department trying to rescue Javier. Eventually, a firefighter could be seen reaching the area near Javier, throwing him a rope, and pulling him to safety.

Javier is now safe, but his mother says this could have been prevented.

Ellis said the darkness is what drove her son to drive into the water.  She said there were no temporary warning signs the night of the flood. There aren’t permanent ones, either.

Ellis said she was able to speak with a representative from Prairie View’s Department of Public Works.  She said she shared videos of her son’s rescue and wants to hear back about potential solutions as soon as possible.

“I want something done,” she said. “I will sit at city hall if I have to with a sign every day until they do something.”

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Javier, a father of two, replace his vehicle.


About the Author:

Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. NOLA born and bred, though #HoustonStrong, with stops in Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in along the way.