Body cam captures Apache Junction officers rescuing woman trapped in flood waters

Authorities in Arizona released a video of crews rescuing a woman who was trapped in her car due to rising flood waters. (Source: Arizona's Family)
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 10:28 AM MST|Updated: Jul. 29, 2022 at 4:52 PM MST
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APACHE JUNCTION, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Residents in Apache Junction woke up Friday to the aftermath of extensive flooding in the area. The city confirmed at least five people had to be rescued and more swept away in the vehicles. New body camera video released exclusively to Arizona’s Family shows one of those rescues.

The woman in the video, Sue Teders, yells to officers that her dog is in that SUV and also needs to be rescued. Teders’ grandson, Connor Smith, said he came to her aid but couldn’t reach her because of the floodwaters. He called 911. “I went to where my grandmother was, and she was in the ambulance. She started crying and said that the dog is gone,” Smith said. “But you don’t know that the dog could still be out there. I know she is little, but we got to look.”

Sue Teder yelled to officers that her dog, Claire, was in the SUV and needed to be rescued.

Teders said her car got stuck in mud after the rain. Then, she said suddenly, the wash nearby was filled by a flash flood, and the water quickly surrounded her, pushing her car backward. “My dog was still on my lap at this moment, but it started going and going, and I was hitting tree trunks,” Teders said. “And then it starts going faster and then it’s going and turning, and then water was coming up, and when I hit the tree, my dog got off my lap, it scared her I guess, and she jumped. I’m thinking she jumped on my other seat.”

Teders said she called 911 and tried to explain her situation to dispatchers. Eventually, they found her up against a guardrail. “He broke my back window, and at that point, I said, you know I have a dog, you need to get my dog, get my dog, just come get my dog. Then they broke the side window and said, ‘you need to get out now!’ I said but my dog, ‘you need to get out now; it’s coming hard and fast,’” Teders recalled. “They didn’t want me to even look for the dog because of what was happening outside. I didn’t know what was happening outside, but they did.”

Rescuers pulled Teders out of her back passenger window. But, unfortunately, they couldn’t find her puppy, Claire. “I decided, hey, I need to be happy, my turn — I’m going to go get a dog. And so that’s what she was to me, that’s why it broke my heart,” Teders said. “It was my turn to be her support, to get her out. And I couldn’t. So the guilt of that, first of all for taking her with me, which I very seldomly did, taking her with me and having that happen, I was telling my granddaughter, how do you get over that?”

New body camera video released exclusively to Arizona’s Family shows one of the flash flood rescues.

Smith said his grandmother was physically okay and that, for now, they are still searching for Claire. Smith said Claire was 11 weeks old. Teders granddaughter posted about the ordeal on social media, urging the community to participate in the search.

Allison Vanario said she saw the post and came out to help. She spent hours walking in and around the wash, looking for any sign of Claire. “I was sitting on my bum on social media like a lot of us do in our spare time, and I thought it’s awful and I live close by. If it were my fur babies, I would hope some stranger sitting on their bum would get up and look. It was nice enough out that I figured I wouldn’t die doing it,” Vanario said.

Teders, her family, and total strangers have tried searching for Claire since the floodwaters dried up. So far, there have been no signs of her. While she is grieving the loss of her beloved pet, she is still grateful to the rescuers. “Thank you. I mean, my goodness. They were there as quickly as they could go and I know they had other rescues to deal with,” Teders said. “Without them where would I have been? So thank you.”

Multiple rescues were done on Thursday night as people were caught up in the rushing water. In addition, the city sent crews out in the morning to clear roadways of dirt and debris. The areas hit the hardest were near Tomahawk Road and Junction Street area. One person was also rescued in their home after floodwaters trapped them inside.

Apache Junction city officials say that most streets closed overnight into the early morning hours on Friday are now reopening. However, they are still advising those passing through the region to use as much caution as possible as there is still a lot of debris along roadways.