HOUSTON – Five Houston children died after their sedan slid into a rain-swollen ditch when the driver lost control while trying to answer a cell phone, authorities said.
John Cannon, a Houston police spokesman, told several Houston television stations that the driver of the car was the father of four of the dead children, all 7 or younger. Cannon said the driver was taken for blood-alcohol testing.
The father was among two adults and a 10-year-old girl who escaped the fast-moving current that swept the car 100 feet on Saturday from where it left the road and made the vehicle inaccessible to emergency workers for hours, Cannon said.
Houston television station KTRK reported that police said the dead children included 1- and 3-year-old girls and three boys, ages 4, 6 and 7.
Cannon said a passenger told police the driver's cell phone rang, and the driver lost control when he tried to answer it.
Houston Fire Assistant Chief Omero Longoria said in the online edition of the Houston Chronicle that rescue workers found the car in 9 feet of water about 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 1/2 hours after the driver lost control.
The children's deaths brought the weekend death toll to six from massive storms that swept across southeast Texas.