Three Patrol Officers of the Month save evasive suspect who was about to drown in Greens Bayou

Tom Kennedy, Editor

The Houston Police Officers Union recognized three men as HPOU Patrol Officers of the Month for their successful efforts to save a suspected car thief who had dived into Greens Bayou in order to evade arrest.

The three were Officers are Adam Alvarez, Norman Escobar and Ramon Guillen.

Here’s what happened:

On Dec. 13, Escobar, a plain clothes officer, spotted a stolen car driven by a suspect in the 500 block of Maxey Road. He followed the vehicle with assistance from two other officers. The suspect stopped the car in the 13400 block of Market Street and dived into Greens Bayou in an effort to evade capture.

Officer Alvarez arrived at the scene and spotted the suspect struggling to swim across the bayou. The officer went to a nearby shipping yard and met with Officer Guillen to plan a capture of the individual, identified as Benjamin Fontenot, who was trying to swim toward the officers.

Escobar, Alvarez and Guillen realized that Fontenot was exhausted and might drown. They contacted HFD to order a flotation device to be used in case the suspect was rescued.

According to the report of the incident, “Officer Alvarez started to shout lifesaving swimming instructions in order to help the suspect stay above water. He advised the suspect get on his back and kick his legs to swim.”

The suspect told the officers that he was too exhausted to swim. The situation worsened. A recent rain had made the water level higher.

Alvarez and Guillen found a rope at the shipping yard and tossed it to the desperate suspect, who grabbed the rope, enabling the officers to pull him to safety. However, once he was out of the water “he was conscious but not very responsive.”

Fontenot was quickly transported to the hospital. He recovered and faced auto theft charges.

This is a prime example of officers dutifully saving a suspect’s life during his best effort to elude arrest.