Senior Deputy Jessica Hollis
Travis County Sheriff’s Office, Texas
End of Watch: Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Tour of Duty: Not available
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Drowned
Date of Incident: September 16, 2014
Weapon Used: Not available
Suspect Info: Not available
Agency Contact Information
Sheriff Greg Hamilton
Travis County Sheriff’s Office
PO Box 1748
Austin, TX 78767
Phone: (512) 854-9770
Senior Deputy Jessica Hollis drowned after her patrol car was away as she checked roadways for high water during a period of heavy rain at 1:50 am.
She was driving in the area of Fritz Hughes Park Road and Low Water Crossing Road, upstream of Lake Austin, when her patrol car was washed into the river. She was able to radio dispatchers that her vehicle was being swept away.
Her patrol car was located approximately 15 minutes later but she was not with it. The patrol was recovered from the water later in the day. Deputy Hollis’ body was recovered from Lake Austin on September 19th, 2014.
Senior Deputy Hollis had served with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office for seven years and was a member of the agency’s Dive Team. She is survived by her husband and 12-year-old son. Deputy Hollis’ husband serves with the Austin Police Department.
Divers found the body of a missing Central Texas sheriff’s deputy Friday, a day after her patrol car was found swamped by floodwaters minutes after she radioed for help while checking flooded low-water crossings.
Senior Deputy Jessica Hollis was found dead Friday afternoon in Lake Austin, an emotional Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton announced Friday afternoon. Hamilton said he had been determined to “bring her home.”
Efforts to locate the deputy had been suspended before nightfall Thursday because of the storms, which were remnants of Hurricane Odile.
The National Weather Service forecasts more heavy rain through Saturday over much of West Texas, with flash flood watches issued through Friday night. Rain fell Friday in Southeast Texas and elsewhere in the state, with high waters clogging roadways and impeding traffic in metro areas such as Austin and Houston.
Hollis, 35, a seven-year veteran of the department, was checking low-water crossings during storms. She radioed shortly before 2 a.m. CDT Thursday to say her patrol car was being washed away in an Austin-area subdivision, Travis County sheriff’s spokesman Roger Wade said.
Hollis’ empty car was found a short time later, but she could not be located.
“We believe she was swept into the low-water crossing by water going down the street,” Wade said. “We were searching all day and we will continue searching until we find something.”
Earlier this week, rainfall pelted parts of the state. In Plainview, about 45 miles north of Lubbock, 4½ inches of rain was reported over 24 hours ending at 2 p.m. CDT Thursday.
“We are getting moisture from Odile,” said Cory Van Pelt, a National Weather Service forecaster in New Braunfels. “We also got a lot of Gulf of Mexico moisture that came in, a combination of the two.”
The Austin area received 5 to 7 inches of rain early Thursday, Van Pelt said. About 40 miles north of Austin, near Jarrell, a weather service observer measured almost 1½ inches of rain within 30 minutes.
Austin-Travis County EMS handled three swift-water rescues in the region Thursday morning, Benavides said. No injuries were reported in those rescues.