Santa Fe police try to educate homeless about arroyo dangers

Posted at: 07/09/2013 4:48 PM
Updated at: 07/09/2013 5:08 PM
By: Gadi Schwartz, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The storm that slammed Santa Fe Monday was deadly for one woman caught in an arroyo and many homeless camps in the area were washed out.

As soon as the storm hit, some police officers saw the arroyos flooding and tried to make it over to known homeless camps to warn people to clear out.

Less than a mile upstream from where a woman’s body was pulled out of a Santa Fe arroyo, KOB Eyewitness News 4 found a washed out homeless camp.

There were sleeping bags wrapped around trees, destroyed by debris. KOB also found the tell-tale signs of the kinds of addictions that make flash flooding even more dangerous.

KOB approached a group of men in a tunnel, but they took off and we found what appears to be aluminum foil with heroin residue. Obviously, it's a very dangerous mindset to be in any time, but especially so when it's a situation of life and death.

Monday’s quarter sized hail would have sent people scrambling for shelter. But when they come down into these tunnels to seek shelter, it proves to be a horrible place when the flash floods come rushing through.

A man who would only identify himself as Brian says he was near another arroyo when the storm hit. “It was like a big river came through the tunnel there,” he said.

The rains came down so fast, anyone caught in the downpour wouldn't have had a chance.

Santa Fe police say they will continue to warn and educate the city's homeless about the dangers of arroyos throughout the monsoon season.

Police said the woman killed Monday did actually have a home in Santa Fe, but lived what they are calling a "transient" lifestyle.