Mom, two children drown in Erath County flash flooding

A mother and her two children drowned after flash flooding in Erath County on Wednesday morning.

The Erath County Sheriff's Office said the family's car was swept away when it attempted to drive through a crossing flooded by unusually high water about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Monica Valdez and her two young children were killed, but Valdez's husband managed to escape the vehicle. Gerardo Ramirez was rescued from a tree he grabbed onto, close to the place where the car was swept away. Valdez was found dead inside the car, while the bodies of a seven-year-old boy and three-year-old girl were found downstream from the vehicle.

Officials said the deadly incident happened about three miles south of Dublin on FM1702 in Erath County. They said the "large quantity" of rainfall that fell filled up ditches and low water crossings "very quickly" and caused the rushing water to go over some roads in the county.

The sheriff says it appears the parents tried to save the kids but couldn't.

"The seatbelts were undone, the car seat was taken off of its base, the buckles were undone. The seven year old, his seat belt was off. Mom was still in the car, so I believe she was attempting to get them free," said Sheriff Matt Coates.

Coates said it's unclear exactly where the family was headed Wednesday morning, but they may have been taking the older child to school. The family lived in the community of Energy, which is located in Comanche County.

The bodies of the three people were taken to Tarrant County for an autopsy, which is standard procedure. The investigation into the incident was still ongoing, the Erath County Sherriff's Office said.