Witnesses and Family of the Woman Who Died in the Flood Speak to NewsWest 9

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND - NewsWest 9 learned more about the woman who died after her car was swept away by flood waters during Friday's storms. Her Ford Mustang was carried downstream, where crews eventually found her. NewsWest 9 spoke with witnesses and family members who tried to save her.

It happened on the corner of Jackson and Scharbauer. As a red Mustang came down the hill, the flood waters picked it up and carried it down to a bridge. The driver plunged into the waters. On Monday, NewsWest 9 spoke with two neighbors who saw it all happen and sprung into action.

"She was screaming 'help me! help me! I can't swim,'" Linda Edwards, a neighbor who tried to save her, said. "So I came down the sidewalk running along trying to keep her attention focused with her. By the time she got to the yellow sign the car started dipping in and out."

People on Jackson Street tell NewsWest 9, not only did they try to pull her to safety, they used a makeshift road block hoping to keep other drivers from falling into the stream.

"You can hear this lady," Witness, Naomi Villarreal, said. "We have video of her saying the cop can't swim, or she can't swim, we need a life jacket."

"I panicked," Edwards said. "I froze, I was scared and nervous because that was a life crying for help and I couldn't help her."

The driver of the red Mustang was 46-year-old Teresa Townsend, a West Texas native. Her nephew told NewsWest 9 she was almost home when her car sunk off a ridge.

"Although she was my Aunt, she was a big sister, a little sister, we'd always joke and talk," Wes Hays, Townsend's Nephew, said. "She had that same effect on everyone else. She was a Christian woman and everybody's friend."

"I didn't see the cops until 8:30/8:45 when I went back with my husband to show him where I had seen that car," Villarreal said. "When we took pictures of her, we didn't know she was still in there."

"After she told me she couldn't swim and I couldn't swim, I felt helpless - that lady was going to die in that ditch and right now I couldn't get any help to help her," Edwards said.

Midland Police say Townsend appeared to have drowned. Emergency crews said they were so inundated with calls they couldn't even reach many victims. In fact, they lost two ambulances and a fire truck to the flooded streets. In this specific case, crews say they're still sorting through details.