Fallen San Jacinto County sheriff’s deputy remembered, honored

The pallbearers for San Jacinto County Sheriff's Deputy Bryan Pfluger carry his casket to a hearse for the final trip to Pflugerville where he will be buried on Saturday.

By Vanesa Brashier, editor@bluebonnetnews.com

The family of San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Deputy Bryan Pfluger made it through their first Christmas without him. Bryan, who leaves behind a son, wife, parents and two siblings, was killed in a Dec. 21 car crash while responding to an emergency call in the Coldspring area. He was 36.

A former member of the Army National Guard for six years, Bryan spent the last four years protecting and serving the citizens of San Jacinto County through his work at the sheriff’s office. On the night of his death, he was en route to a burglary in progress when he crashed into another patrol vehicle that was responding.

Even as a young boy, Bryan seemed destined for a life in law enforcement. His mom, Penny McElhaney, and sister, Amanda Pfluger Arnold, say he loved to dress up in police and military uniforms for Halloween and to play with friends. His dad, David, a retired Texas trooper, was his role model and Bryan wanted to be the apple of his dad’s eye, Penny said.

He got into law enforcement after first serving in the military. An injury sidelined his military career but didn’t deter him from joining law enforcement.

A procession of police vehicles, personal cars and the Pace-Stancil Funeral Home hearse make their way through Cleveland just after noon on Friday for the trip to Pflugerville, Texas, for the funeral Saturday for San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Deputy Bryan Pfluger.

Hearing the stories about Bryan’s character and antics on the job from his co-workers brought a little peace to Penny, who said he became the man she raised.

“There were some years when I wondered what he would turn out to be, but hearing the outpouring of love from his friends and coworkers I know that he didn’t stray from his roots,” she said.

Like many big brothers, Bryan was both defensive and antagonistic to his baby sister, Amanda.

“We were six years apart. He was a good guy. He could be a pain in the butt, but he was our pain in the butt,” Amanda said, smiling. “He was funny and would take me out to shoot guns with our brother, Brandon.”

As she started her teen years, Bryan was entering his 20s, so he was often the person to whom Amanda would vent after a run-in with her parents.

“I would call him and he would tell me how to deal with things,” she said.

Though they are mourning his loss, his mom and sister say they are thankful that a piece of Bryan lives on in his son, Caedyn, 11 months old.

“He has the same ears as his daddy. Hopefully he will grow into them just like his daddy did. Bryan nicknamed him ‘Monkey’ because he had the same ears as his daddy,” Amanda said with a chuckle.

Lt. Dan Todd with the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office holds the photo of fallen deputy, Bryan Pfluger, and a folded Texas flag as Pfluger’s body is loaded into a hearse outside of Pace-Stancil Funeral Home on Friday, Dec. 26. Pfluger’s funeral will be held on Saturday in Pflugerville.

Media reports blaming Bryan for his fatal injuries, have hurt the family, particularly since he was so vigilant about people wearing seatbelts.

“It kind of gets to us because we know how he was about seatbelts. We know Bryan and are focusing on that. Nobody will ever really know what happened that night. Being his mom and knowing how he was, it’s been hard,” Penny said.

Bryan’s death has been traumatic, too, for the employees of the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office, particularly the evening shift crew who worked together day in and day out.

Jane Cooksey and Meagan McDougal, dispatchers on the night shift, said Bryan and the rest of the evening shift were like a small family, looking out for and supporting each other, and occasionally pranking each other, as Bryan did with McDougal on special occasions, bringing her cupcakes for birthdays and holidays, knowing that she dislikes them.

“He made sure to bring cupcakes every time,” she said. “Bryan was the kind of person who would go above and beyond for anyone.”

Cooksey agreed, adding, “He was always in a hurry but he made sure everything was done to a T. He was thorough. He made sure that things weren’t left undone.”

Bryan is a descendant of Henry Pfluger Sr., the namesake of Pflugerville, Texas, who moved to that area in 1849. Bryan will be laid to rest alongside his ancestors in the family cemetery in Pflugerville, Texas, on Saturday.

To see Bryan’s full obituary, click here: https://bluebonnetnews.com/2019/12/25/bryan-charles-pfluger/

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