A mom from the Spring Branch neighborhood of Houston reached out to WFAA on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the electrocution death of her son, to warn others wading through the flooded remnants of Hurricane Harvey that they could be tempting the same fate.
“I just want to save a life,” Jodell Pasek told me as we sat in her front yard in plastic lawn chairs because her home was in the dark, without power after the storm. She says the power went out right around the same time her son was dying less than 5 miles away.
Andrew Pasek, 25, and his friend Sean Stuart decided to return to Pasek’s sister’s house north of the Addicks Reservoir to rescue the cat she left behind. When she evacuated earlier, she didn’t think she’d be gone long. As the water began to rise again on Oak Spring Drive, they decided to wade through the water to get to the house.
They were in just two feet of water when Andrew suddenly stopped near an electrical lamp post in a front yard.
“And Andrew stepped in the water, and he felt the shock,” his mom said. “Sean reached for him to try and pull him and Andrew said 'No, I’m dying. And you will die too.' And he just fell over in the water.”
Sean Stuart says Andrew stumbled and put his hand on the electrical light pole and then, with the electrical current racing through him, couldn’t pull away.
“And he told me just to get away from him. Just get as far away from him as I could. And so I had to let him go,” Stuart said.
“They couldn’t get him out. Nobody could touch him. Nobody could resuscitate him. Nobody could help him and they had to leave him there in the water for over an hour until Centerpoint came and finally turned off the electricity to the subdivision,” his mom said.
Electricity can travel short distances in water. Something I’ll admit even I didn’t take into full consideration a few days ago in Dickinson, when I waded through knee deep water with a family rescuing items from their home while the lights and the ceiling fans were still on.
“That could happen. And it just so happened it happened to my son,” Pasek said.
So, a grieving mom, less than 24 hours after her son’s electrocution death, asked to send a public warning.
“That’s the only reason why I’m doing this. I just wanted it to be for something. If this can save one other life or bunches of lives it would be something where I could say I helped somebody with his departing.”
A departing, a death, one more death from an already deadly storm.