Waller County, TX – Waller County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Loren Vasquez died in the line of duty on Wednesday night, when her patrol vehicle went airborne as she was responding to an emergency water rescue, and landed upside down in a flooded ditch.
Deputy Vasquez, 23, was in the midst of her third shift as a new deputy at the time of the fatal crash, KTRK reported.
The incident occurred during a severe storm at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Farm to Market (FM) 362, southwest of Hockley.
“Her patrol unit landed upside down in a water filled ditch,” the Waller County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. “Responding deputies were unable to gain access to Deputy Vasquez inside of her vehicle.”
Although it was unclear how deep the water was, radio communications indicated that the deputies struggled to extricate Deputy Vasquez from her overturned cruiser.
"I can't get the doors open. Can you break the window? I've broken a window. I can't get the doors open," officials said to one another during the effort, according to KTRK.
The deputies were ultimately able to free Deputy Vasquez from the vehicle, and saluted her body as she was loaded into a waiting ambulance.
She was then rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital Cypress, where she was pronounced dead.
“Words will never express what our office is going [through] and we can only ask for your prayers,” Sheriff Smith said in a Facebook post. “The blue line has heartfelt tears on it for our office.”
A law enforcement procession transported the fallen deputy’s body from the hospital to the medical examiner’s office in Houston, where her exact cause of death will be determined, KTRK reported.
Deputy Vasquez joined the Waller County Sheriff’s Office in May, and had just completed her 20-week field training program, KHOU reported.
At the time of her death, she had been on her own for only three nights.
She was also an active member of the Brookshire Volunteer Fire Department, KTRK reported.
"The Waller County Sheriff’s Office is asking for your thoughts and prayers during the coming days and weeks,” the department said in a statement early Thursday morning, according to KHOU. “We also respectfully request that you keep Loren’s family in your hearts during this difficult time."
Deputy Vasquez leaves behind her parents and younger brother, KTRK reported.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Waller County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Loren Vasquez, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.