DALLAS (CBS11) – It was a wild, panicked ride for Janeth Tovar, her kids and the rest of the family, as water rose around their home in northwest Houston.
“We tried driving our car out and it was already rising up too quick,” said Tovar, outside a Dallas evacuation shelter, with her husband and two young children by her side.
“Everybody was stuck under the freeway,” she said.
They didn’t think they would get out in their family SUV.
And then Tovar’s brother, Francisco Tovar, drove up in his high-standing, supercharged, four-wheel pickup, screaming at them to jump in.
“I don’t know what would have happened without the truck, or him driving,” Janeth Tovar said.
For the next three hours, Francisco steered the big truck onto anything still visible above water – high concrete medians, curbs, muddy but still passable yards, any above-water freeway, even if he had to dodge vehicles going the opposite direction.
“I was running up on the curbs and stuff, one wheel on the curb, the other in the water,” Francisco said. “I would go one way, hit a dead end, drive all the way back, hit another dead end, where I couldn’t go anywhere.”
The engine on the super-duty truck was screaming, almost at the same pitch as the frightened children inside its cab.
The water continued to rise, their homes in jeopardy of being swallowed by one of the worst storms in history.
Then the Tovar family finally got out of town.
“To tell you the truth, sir, I’m glad we got out of there in time. The house, if it gets flooded, it’s all material,” Francisco said.
With a laugh, he shrugged off his family calling him their hero.
“I’m no….,” Francisco said with his voice trailing off. “I just did what I had to do to get my kids out of there.”