Widow of Drowned SMU Officer Sues Highland Park, Dallas, Others


Mark McCullers

The widow of Mark McCullers, the SMU police officer who drowned after being swept away by Turtle Creek floodwaters on July 5, 2016, is suing the town of Highland Park, the city of Dallas, and the companies responsible for the construction site where her husband was providing off-duty security.

In the wrongful death lawsuit, filed July 5, 2018, Tiffany McCullers claims the defendants knew, or should have known, the dangers Turtle Creek could pose during a rain to those at the site where her husband was working.

The suit accuses the construction companies of not adequately warning Officer McCullers of the dangers and the municipalities of negligence for not adequately maintaining and developing the property so that it would not pose a danger.

The suit also accuses the municipalities of failing to provide adequate warning to the danger and appropriate barriers that could have prevented the officer’s Dodge Charger from being swept into the creek during the flash flood.

Mark McCullers, 46, was sitting in his sedan in the early hours of July 5, working off-duty private security at a Highland Park construction site, when heavy rains caused Turtle Creek to overflow.

News coverage described how McCullers called 911 around 1:40 a.m. as he realized rising waters were overtaking and moving his car. Video footage from the Fitzhugh Avenue Bridge shows him climbing out a door.

The car was found 13 hours later about a half-mile downstream during a search operation involving Dallas-Fire Rescue, Dallas Police Department, Highland Park Department of Public Safety, Search One Rescue Team, Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden’s Office, and University Park Police Department. His body wouldn’t be recovered until weeks later.

Sgt. Keith McCain found McCullers’ remains on Aug. 24, 2016 near Oak Lawn Avenue and East Levee Street in a new pile of debris at the end of a more-than-mile-long drainage tunnel emptying into the Trinity River.

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