Woman dies after van is swept away

LAWRENCEVILLE - A Lawrenceville woman swept off the road early Monday morning spoke to 911 dispatchers before apparently becoming trapped and drowning inside her vehicle.

Seydi Burciaga, 39, was on her way home from work just after 5 a.m. when floodwaters washed the 1997 Nissan Quest she was driving off the side of Desiree Drive, police said.

Burciaga lived on Desiree Drive.

Gwinnett County police and firefighters - including the fire department's Swift Water Rescue Team - responded to the area near Lawrenceville Highway but were unable to immediately find any signs of the woman.

Police said that as emergency personnel were searching for her, Burciaga, a wife and mother, remained on the phone with dispatchers, trying to provide updates as to her location.

"The victim was attempting to provide landmarks over the telephone but was unable to provide clear directions concerning the location of her vehicle," said police spokesman Police Officer Senior Brian Kelly.

Fire Department spokesman Capt. Thomas Rutledge said rescue team members used every means available to them in their efforts to locate the van.

When they did find the vehicle, more than two hours later, "it was simply too late," Rutledge said. The minivan was submerged in a creek about 500 feet from where it left the roadway; Burciaga was dead inside.

Police said the medical examiner's office will determine the official cause of death.

Burciaga's death is the only one reported in Gwinnett County attributed to severe urban flash floods caused by recent downpours. More than 14 inches of rain have been dumped in the county over the last seven days.

In all, six people, including a Carroll County toddler, were killed in the storms.

Several remained missing at press time.