Historic flood death toll climbs to seven after body pulled from SUV found underwater

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HOUSTON - There are now seven people dead from the devastating floods that drenched the Bayou City.

Late Tuesday, authorities pulled a body from the back of an SUV that relatives identified as belonging to a woman reported missing from the storm. The vehicle had gone past barriers at the underpass of the Westpark Tollway at Loop 610.

Captain Terry Thurman, Harris County Constable Precinct 5, said "it was underwater."

It now appears to be the body of 25-year-old Claudia Melgar. "She was on her way home," Melgar's cousin Linda Rodriguez shared. "She asked her mom if she needed anything, and that was the last we heard from her."

Her cousin said Melgar had been at the Fantasy Island nightclub on Westheimer and left about 3am on Monday morning, taking a route home that has now become notorious for deadly flooding in Houston.

"At 6:10 in the morning, the vehicle went past a Harris County Toll Road incident response team truck that was blocking the barricade," Thurman announced.

Police say the officer at the barricade tried to save the driver. "The car went into the water," Thurman related. "He entered the water himself to try to effect a rescue on her.... but due to the high water, and the flow of the water, he was unsuccessfully able to do that."

Now that the body has been retrieved, "the medical examiner is on location doing identification," Thurman indicated. "And then notifications will be made after that."

"I use this tollway everyday, and it's just pretty sad," observer Larry Martin said.

Six other people lost their lives from the deadly floods, and as Houstonians try to pick up the pieces in the aftermath...once again we learn that critical lesson: Turn Around, Don't Drown!