‘We all got swept away.’ 4-year-old boy separated from parents drowns in Texas flash flood

A 4-year-old boy died early Sunday after flooding in Johnson County left a vehicle stuck in swift water, according to the child’s family and the Johnson County Office of Emergency Management.

The boy, identified as Lucas Nathaniel Warren, of Burleson, would have been 5 years old later this month, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Emergency responders were called to County Road 528 around 2 a.m. when the vehicle became stranded in flash flooding following a storm. A 911 caller reported that two adults and the child tried to make it to dry land but were swept away by flood water and separated from each other.

Sheriff’s deputies and the fire department responded and began a search. It wasn’t until 5 a.m. that the child’s mother and father were found and rescued, according to the emergency management office. The 4-year-old boy was found in the water around 7:20 a.m.

Family members have started a GoFundMe for the parents, Aaron and Chelsey Warren, who lost their only child.

Chelsey Warren told WFAA-TV that she, her husband and Lucas were on their way home from a family member’s birthday party and that some roads were blocked off but County Road 528 wasn’t.

We thought we could make it through,” Chelsey Warren said. “We saw another SUV make it through. It didn’t look that deep; it looked like a puddle. We couldn’t really see the water rushing on the sides because of the trees and how dark it was.”

Their car’s battery died and rushing water began to fill the SUV.

“We got Lucas out of the car seat and grabbed what we could,” Warren told WFAA. “It was a five-foot walk to dry land — we thought we could make it. The current was too strong; my husband fell. He was holding Lucas, and I grabbed him and we all got swept away in different directions.”

The mother told WFAA that she was carrying her son on her back when a current pulled him under.

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Johnson County Emergency Management Director Jamie Moore also tried to respond to the call for rescue and he became trapped in high water while en route, he wrote in a Facebook post. He shared video from the roof of his vehicle, which was surrounded by water.

“It wasn’t that high when I first ended up there — it rose about a foot while I was on the roof,” Moore wrote.

The county issued a disaster declaration on Monday for the flooding and related roadway damage.

In another post, the emergency management office addressed why residents might see high water signs on some roadways and not on others during a storm.

“When we start getting flooding reported the Commissioner Pcts. go out and check their roads and close gates (as) needed,” the post said. Sheriff’s deputies, firefighters and the emergency management director “will also close them if we run across the need while responding.”

In the northeast precinct, for example, there are 250 miles of county roads that need to be checked during heavy rain, the emergency management office said.

“The process of road closure happens as quickly as it can and is of course (prioritized) by known locations first,” the post said. “But flash flooding is called FLASH flooding for a reason, it happens quickly. And it can happen in areas you don’t expect it. ... You have to be the one to make the decision not to drive into the water, gate or no gate. Accidents happen even with best of intentions and that’s why we ‘public safety’ are here for you.”