Rescue crews are set up at Turtle Creek in search of a missing SMU police officer who was swept away in the creek during a storm.
Highland Park police Lt. Lance Koppa says they received a call at 1:39 a.m. from a man on Fitzhugh Avenue reporting high waters were washing over his car. Both Highland Park and Dallas Police and Fire Rescue are now searching for him, and for the white Dodge he drove. As of 10:20 a.m., neither the driver nor his car has been found.
SMU police chief Richard Shafer released a statement confirming the missing person was an SMU officer, “working off-duty as a private security guard at a construction site when he and his car were swept away by high water early Tuesday, July 5, near Turtle Creek in Highland Park.” The officer’s name has not been released.
Update 10:50 a.m. Rescue crews are searching the creek in rafts.
Update 11:25 a.m. Dallas Fire Rescue PIO Jason Evans said a neighbor’s surveillance footage shows some movement in the missing vehicle. The video is grainy, but it seems the officer may have managed to escape from his car, although he still would have been swept into the creek. The car is believed to be focused at the intersection of Lemmon and Fitzhugh Ave. where there are grates in the creek that would stop it moving further south.
The search includes crews in the water and also at ground level and tree level, because the water level was so high during the night – up to bridge level and completely covering Fitzhugh – and has since lowered. The police have requested sonar, which Evans says “may give us a better chance of finding something.”
Update 2 p.m. Emergency response vehicles are now stationed south of Stonebridge Drive. Koppa reports they have found something, but cannot confirm if it is the white Dodge.
Update 4:05 p.m. A white vehicle has been pulled out of the creek. Dallas police say it matches the description of the officer’s car. The search for the officer is ongoing.
Update 4:30 p.m: Koppa confirms the vehicle belonged to the SMU officer, but he was not inside. While it is still HPDPS’s case, Dallas Fire-Rescue continues the search with other outside agencies.
Update July 6: WFAA reported at 1:54 p.m. the SMU officer has been identified as Mark McCullers. His car was pulled out of Turtle Creek around 3:30 p.m. on July 5, but the SMU officer was not inside. The search for McCullers resumed this morning.
Reporting by Britt E. Stafford.