According to KFOX 14, police in El Paso, Texas say 64-year-old Constance Manzanares drowned after her vehicle traveled into a drainage canal on Monday. But if a witness’ account is accurate, it may not have had to end that way.
As noted in the report, a witness said police stopped several men from attempting to rescue Manzanares.
“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,'” she told KFOX 14. “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.”
According to the story, several nearby residents backed the witness’ claim that the men were ordered to leave. But it’s not clear whether Manzanares was still alive at that time.
The witness reportedly said the waters started to go down 10-15 minutes later.
“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,” she said.
The witness reportedly said the woman was trapped for about an hour and a half before she was removed.
“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,” she said.
She added that it appeared everyone just stood around and watched as Manzanares possibly died.
“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 told KFOX 14. “It’s so sad. If it was my mother or my sister or someone, I would’ve gone and tried to rescue her.”
KFOX 14 said it asked the El Paso Police Department (EPPD) about police allegedly telling the men not to help. But the EPPD just said its Special Traffic Investigations unit is investigating the incident.
Meanwhile, this isn’t the first time police in El Paso have been involved in an odd situation in which someone died. You may recall that an officer killed a handcuffed prisoner in March 2013.
What do you think? If the witness’ account is accurate, should police have allowed the men to attempt to rescue Manzanares?