Woman Drowns After Police Threaten to Arrest the Men Who Were Rescuing Her

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(Newswire.net — September 27, 2014)  — El Paso Police have identified 64-year-old Constance Manzanares as the woman who tragically lost her life during last week floods. Special Traffic Investigators were dispatched to the scene around 6:37 am Monday morning after emergency personnel reported that a woman drowned near the intersection of Diana St. and Vulcan.

The investigation revealed that Manzanares was driving a 2005 Toyota Corolla west on Vulcan St. crossing Diana when her Corolla ended up submerged in the drainage canal on Diana St. Manzanares died at the scene. STI investigators say they are continuing their investigation the determine how Manzanares’ car got into the canal.

When police arrived on the scene, there were a number of young men in the water attempting to save the victim and rescue her from the car.

However, witnesses say that police threatened the young men with arrest and chased them away from the area, and then failed to make a rescue attempt of their own, allowing the woman to drown.

According to an anonymous witness who was interviewed by local KFOX14, the woman may be alive today if the police did not intervene. According to multiple witnesses, the police stood around and did nothing for nearly 15 minutes before allowing emergency crews to move in.

“They went and tried to help this lady, they tried to help her, but the police said they can’t, they were yelling and everything, I don’t wanna say nothing bad about them, I know they give good service here and everything, but I said ‘Oh, my God,’” the witness said. “They hit the window on the driver’s side, and she tried to get out but there’s a fence right there, and she couldn’t get out. So she had all that weight with her and all the water inside. The men got scared, they didn’t want to leave, they were mad, so they got scared, people were yelling so they had to leave before they got arrested.”

“There were ambulances, there was the Fire Department, helicopters, airplanes, I said ‘Oh, my God, they’re not doing anything about it,’ so she passed away,” said the witness.

“We thought they were going to rescue her or come and do something, CPR, take her out, something, they have the tools, everyone had the tools, but they didn’t do anything. Nothing, they didn’t even touch the water,” she said. “It’s so sad. If it was my mother or my sister or someone, I would’ve gone and tried to rescue her.”

The El Paso area was bombarded with strong rain for the second day in a row on Thursday with the Lower Valley taking the brunt of the storm, which caused arroyos to overflow their banks, sending thousands of gallons of dirty water into neighborhood. As the storm continued through the area, Central El Paso was drenched in a downpour and Interstate 10 was flooded again when the storm water system failed to keep up with the rain. In Downtown El Paso, a building was evacuated after an electrical fire believed caused by the rain, and motorists were challenged by flooded streets, closures and a steady rain that lasted hours at a time.

Just five days prior to this event, flooding shut down a stretch of Interstate 10 near Piedras Street. The El Paso Fire Department rescued three stranded motorists that evening.

El Paso International Airport picked up 3.02 inches of rain from Sept. 15-18. More than half of that rain total fell on the evening of Sept. 17 alone.