KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
July 14, 2021
By Natalie Cook Clark
The Katy area is still mourning the tragic loss of local mom, Allison Kempe whose vehicle was found submerged in a pond after leaving Katy’s Molina’s Cantina Friday evening. While such tragic accidents are rare, a local expert shares how to get out of a flooding vehicle.
Katy experts tell how to get out of a flooding vehicle.
Local Mom Trapped in Vehicle, Drowns
Local mom of two boys, Allison Kempe (41) left Molina’s Cantina in Katy Friday evening, July 9. When she didn’t return to her Richmond home, authorities quickly alerted the public and a search began.
Search Ends on Tragedy
Concern grew when reports came in that Kempe had texted a friend saying that she drove into water and her vehicle was taking in water.
Tragically, an off-duty firefighter spotted her vehicle submerged in a section of Jones Creek, around 1,000 feet north of FM 359 in Richmond on Monday morning. Authorities confirmed that the woman in the vehicle was Allison Kempe and report her death as an “accidental drowning.”
Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office is leading the investigation and have stated that no foul play is suspected in Kempe’s tragic death.
Such Accidents are Rare but Have a Plan
"It's sad in terms of tragedy that we think of these things when such an event occurs," says Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office Lt. Ryan Skelton.
These types of accidents are rare in our area. In 16 years with Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office, Lt. Skelton can recall 4 to 5 times when he's been on scene for a similar accident. He was not on shift or involved with Kempe's case.
While such tragedies are rare, drivers can enter water through local ponds especially when water levels are high after significant rain fall. Drivers can also find themselves in water during flooding events from heavy rain. We are also in Hurricane season and storms have brought flooding and risk to drivers like Hurricane Harvey did in 2017.
"In most cases there is always an underlying issue involved that contributes to the accident," says Lt. Skelton.
He recalls when a local newspaper deliver driver died of a similar accidental drowning. In that case he says, there was heavy fog in the neighborhood that obscured the water until it was too late. Weather conditions can often become the threat that leads to such cases.
"Such accidents can happen very quickly," says Lt. Skelton. "It's important to have a plan. If the time comes and you don't have a plan, you panic."
However, if a driver does find themselves trapped in the vehicle taking in water there are things they can do to escape.
Lt. Skelton stresses that remaining calm is the biggest priority in such an accident.
"Time is not your friend," he says. "The car will float but only for about a minute. Your life and your passenger's lives should be your top priority. Don't worry about your phone or even calling 911."
How to Get Out:
Open a Window- "It will take a while for circuits to cut off," says Lt. Skelton. If you can't open the window then a knife or window cutter (most sold at local gas stations or online have seatbelt cutters as well) can punch the window easily at the top corners.
Do not try to break the windshield as it is designed to withstand breakage. According to Lt. Skelton, getting out the window is the best option. If you are going to open the door then you will have to let water fill in before doing so to even out the pressure. This goes against our instincts in a moment of panic.
Practice your plan. Obviously you are not going to drive your car into a water but think, "this is what I'm going to do" and have a family plan.
"Train your children how to get out of their carseats," says Lt. Skelton. "If you have to take the time to unbuckle children and get them to the front of the car that could take over 30 seconds when you could be breaking a window."
Once water starts to come in the car it could be taken over in just a little over 60 seconds.
Watch a Video by Tech Insider
You can find examples of glass breaking tools online for just over $10.
FBCSO is still investigating the circumstances of Allison Kempe’s tragic drowning.
Lt. Skelton says to always be prepared even outside of this water scenario.
"Things happen," says Lt. Skelton. "If you go to a movie theater, look for and know the exits."
The Community Mourns Kempe
Kempe has two young sons ages 3 and 5. According to Facebook she was a graduate of the University of Houston and worked as a HR manager at Worldwide Oilfield Machine in Houston.
Friends rushed to social media to express support for her family and to talk about her fun and caring personality that all who knew her will miss.
“I request that your thoughts, prayers and respect for privacy be extended to Allison’s family during this difficult time,” says Fort Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan.