In the tranquil subdivision of Cross Creek Ranch, skid marks leading out of a retention pond tell of the late-night crash and drowning. The sounds of sirens drew Allyson Hennen's husband out to the pond.
"And he actually saw a police officer standing on the SUV, because they were looking for the guy, I guess in the lake," Hennen said.
Fulshear police say at about 10pm, a truck speeding down South Fry Road never hit the brakes before going airborne into the retention pond.
"Driving at a high rate of speed down Fry Road, entering Fulshear and was unaware that there was a lake and T-intersection, went straight through the intersection and went airborne into the lake," Fulshear city administrator C.J. Snipes said.
Witnesses tell police 22-year-old Juan Ortiz was able to crawl atop his truck roof as it began to sink in the 10-foot pond. Even though Ortiz didn't know how to swim, he tried to make it to the land.
"What we understand when the vehicle went in, he was able to climb out and get on top of the vehicle and then attempted to swim to shore. And he was not trained to swim, panicked and ended up drowning," Snipes said.
The grass is still damaged where the truck was pulled from the pond by the Richmond Fire Department's dive team. Homeowners on the lake are now mourning about death in their backyard.
"This is quiet out here. I'm sad for the person that you told me passed away. Nobody deserves that so I was hoping that he would have survived," Hennen said.
Ortiz is survived by a young son. Investigators won't know if drugs or alcohol played a factor until the Galveston County medical examiner's office completes an autopsy.
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