A witness claims that police stopped and threatened a group of men from trying to save a woman who was trapped in her vehicle. The woman went on to drown.
Constance Manzanares, 64, was driving on Vulcan Street in El Paso, Texas, last week when flooding caused her car to become trapped in a canal. Her 2005 Toyota Carolla was submerged in water and Manzanares ultimately died at the scene.
A witness told KFOX14 that police stopped several men from trying to save Manzanares.
The witness said she could see Manzanares moving her hands inside the car, but police still stopped three men from trying to rescue her from the vehicle.
"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."
The witness’ story has been verified by several people who live on Vulcan Avenue, but it is unknown whether Manzanares was alive or dead at the time.
"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.
The witness said Manzanares was trapped in the car for nearly an hour and a half before her body was removed and placed in the coroner’s van.
"They assumed she was dead, but I don't know. Nobody was there to say if she was dead; that's why [the men] went to try and help her," the witness continued.
"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."
Manzanares’ daughter said her mother was on her way to work via Railroad Drive but it was too flooded, so she took Vulcan Street, reports KVIA.
Special Traffic Investigators are investigating the route that led Manzanares into the canal. The witness said the area where the car was swept into does not have a curb or concrete barrier to stop a vehicle from falling in.
Photo Source: KFOX14