Authorities call off search for teens who crashed into White Oak Bayou


by Rucks Russell / KHOU 11 News & staff

Posted on September 23, 2013 at 6:44 AM

Updated Monday, Sep 23 at 5:26 PM

HOUSTON — Friends and family members of a pair of teens believed to have drowned in the White Oak Bayou continued to hold out hope as sheriff’s deputies spent hours searching for the victims.

The pickup truck they were traveling in sailed off a bridge near Fairbanks North Houston Road and plunged into the bayou during heavy rainfall around midnight on Friday.

Family members identified the driver as 18-year-old Eric Cabrera. They said the passenger was his 17-year-old girlfriend.

Cabrera, who is survived by a 2-year-old son, studied electronics at Houston’s Can Academy Charter School.

His mother spoke outside her north Houston home but asked not to be identified.

“In my mind he’s still alive,” she said. “I just wish he would call or come home because I miss my son very much.”

Deputies called off their search around sundown, but planned to resume their efforts first thing in the morning.

Deputies with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office used all-terrain vehicles on Sunday and Monday to search a wooded area near the bayou just north of Tidwell. They said a lot of debris washed up after Friday night’s heavy rains.

Cabrera and his girlfriend were in a truck when it went into the fast-moving water, but the two were nowhere to be found when crews pulled out the vehicle.

At the time of the incident, officials said the swift-moving bayou was about 20 feet higher than normal.

One of Cabrera’s neighbors called the news was hard to digest.

“I just don’t understand how something like this could happen,” said Ron Dickson. “It’s really a shock to me.”