‘This is the worst thing that could ever happen’: Mother of 4-year-old boy who drowned in Burleson flash flooding speaks out

Chelsey Warren said she carried her 4-year-old son, Lucas, on her back and fought to survive as water rushed through a county road.

BURLESON, Texas — Along the county road the Warren family drives on daily, they saw their four-year-old son for the last time.

Just before 2 a.m. on Sunday, Chelsey Warren, her husband, and four-year-old son Lucas were headed home from a family member’s birthday party.

They encountered a flooded area on County Road 528 in Burleson.

“Every road was blocked, but that road wasn’t blocked,” Warren said. “We thought we could make it through, we saw another SUV make it through. It didn’t look that deep, it looked like a puddle. We couldn’t really see the water rushing on the sides because of the trees and how dark it was.”

As they attempted to drive through it, their car battery died and water began rushing around them. It began to fill their car with water.

“We got Lucas out of the car seat and grabbed what we could,” Warren said. “It was a five-foot walk to dry land we thought we could make it. The current was too strong, my husband fell. He was holding Lucas, and I grabbed him and we all got swept away in different directions.”

Warren said she carried her son Lucas on her back and struggled to stay above water.

“Every tree we grabbed onto, the branch broke and we’d go under for 15 to 20 seconds at a time,” Warren said.

Someone nearby witnessed the family get swept away and called 911. First responders and Johnson County Emergency Management crews responded to the water rescue.

At least one Johnson County first responder became stuck in high water.

Warren told WFAA she kept her son on her back for as long as she could.

“He was fine, gasping a little, but he was fine. I told him to say his prayers and we were gonna be okay. I found a tree where I could push myself up a little, and when the current came, he let go.”

Warren watched her only child quickly get swept away by flash flooding.

“It pulled him under, and I didn’t hear him cry out for me, didn’t hear him scream, he just went under,” Warren said.

Johnson County Emergency Management officials told WFAA the county road where the family was swept away was open to traffic because the department hadn’t received any reports of high waters in the area.

Authorities found the mother and father around 5 a.m., according to the Johnson County Office of Emergency Management. Law enforcement found the deceased 4-year-old in the water at 7:20 a.m., they said.

“I’m just going through waves of shock,” Warren said. “This is the worst thing that could ever happen to a parent.”

Her son would’ve turned 5 years old in two weeks.

“Nothing’s gonna bring him back and nothing’s gonna change that, and I’m gonna have that hole in my heart forever,” Warren said.  

Relatives created a GoFundMe on behalf of the parents.

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