Brown County man dies trying to save people from Harvey floods


BROWN COUNTY, Texas - A Texas couple decided to help people during the historic flooding near Beaumont left by Hurricane Harvey, but one of them lost their life.

Dena McGraw tells KTXS her husband, Lee, died a hero trying to help save people from the flood waters. She saw Lee drown in front of her very eyes as he went under a creek.

"He had his feet inside but his body was outside," McGraw said Wednesday recalling the scene.

She said they were driving on Interstate 10 in Orange, where they both lived, to pull people from washed out cars.

Lee is from Brown County and his daughter, Betty, still resides in the county.

"I've seen the current take him under the bridge of I-10, and it just took him," McGraw said. "He just looked back at me, and I've seen his eyes. My God, I'm just devastated."

Dena said she will remember him as a hero for putting his life on the line for others.

"People ask me, if there's anything I can do," McGraw said. "The one thing I want, no one can do. And that's to bring my baby home."

Lee died when his pickup truck was swept away by the current. But before the waters took over the vehicle, he kicked Dena out.

"Wednesday evening at 7:45 is when I lost the best thing that ever happened to me, my hero," McGraw said.

Dena hung onto a guardrail until help arrived and took her to safety. When she arrived home, she regained access to a phone and was able to call 911 to report Lee's drowning.

"I just want him back, even though it's never going to happen," McGraw said.

She said his funeral arrangements haven't been set yet because Lee's body hasn't arrived at the morgue.

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