Coworkers mourn Phoenix man who died in NM flash flood - New York News

Coworkers mourn Phoenix man who died in NM flash flood

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Steve Elsley Steve Elsley
PHOENIX -

Over the past week, you've probably heard a lot about the flooding in Colorado. But they're not the only state being hit hard by storms.

Southern New Mexico has also seen massive rainfall, and over the weekend flooding claimed the life of a valley businessman.

Steve Elsley was in southern New Mexico working for Spaceport America. His company installed the roof on the world's first commercial space port.

Friday, as he drove in a rural area of southern New Mexico, his car was somehow washed off the road.

This is the kind of monsoon flooding New Mexico has been dealing with the last five days. The only death from the New Mexico flooding so far, sadly, is a man from Phoenix.

Steven Elsley was a beloved employee of Progressive Roofing Company, a family owned company in west Phoenix.

"We're all just broken up and we're at a loss. We all loved the guy," said friend Jeff Kelley.

53-year-old Elsley was in Southern New Mexico on business. He's the project manager overseeing the Spaceport America roof installed by Progressive Roofing there.

New Mexico State police say they got a call Saturday afternoon reporting a car partially submerged in a muddy creek bed. It turned out to be Steve Elsley's rental car.

"You know this is a very rural, two lane road, it's in very rugged terrain. You have canyons all around you," said New Mexico State Police Sgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez.

"It's in an area that can be prone to flash floods and rockslides and things of that nature during these downpours that we've been experiencing."

Police say it appears that some time Friday afternoon, the car Elsley was driving was swept off the road in a flash flood. His friends are reeling with shock.

"We all make fun of you guys in the news for saying be careful of the floods. We do we make fun of you guys all the time, but here's a case where what the hell happened. He's gone," said Kelley.

Coworkers tell us Elsley was married and had adult children here in Phoenix.

He was working on Spaceport America, but he has done many projects with ASU, including the install on the Wells Fargo Arena at the university.

Coworkers say he was a great guy and they will miss his eternal smile.

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