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Witnesses Of Trooper’s Deadly Wreck Speak Up

A Texas State Trooper pulls up his patrol car quietly to the intersection of Joe Battle Boulevard and Bob Hope on the city?s east side, and stops. He looks straight forward, sitting in his car. Nothing happens. The trooper doesn?t move. Time passes.

The sun is beginning to set when he finally opens his car door. He walks up to an impromptu memorial site erected days ago after the big wreck. The trooper looks down at the plastic flowers, flags, a cluttering of holy candles. He raises his right hand and salutes.

Among the flowers are still broken pieces of glass from the crash that killed Trooper Arana.

?Yeah, it was the worst thing I?ve ever seen,? said Adrian Amador, a teenager. ??Having to watch someone die.?

At 1:28 a.m. on Saturday, Department of Public Safety officials say Texas State Trooper Javier Arana, Jr. was responding to a pursuit call. His patrol car was struck by a Ford Ranger at the intersection of Joe Battle Blvd. and Bob Hope Dr., they said. The truck was driven by 18-year-old Edgardo Flores. The passenger was 20-year-old UTEP student Josue Guerrero. Both Flores and Guerrero were transported to local hospitals.

?The Ford truck hit him because he [Trooper Arana] took the red light,? Tatiana Adame said between tears.

High school student Tatiana Adame and a group of friends said they were driving in tandem, dropping off a friend early Saturday morning when she said she saw the trooper light up his patrol car. She said he sped up fast and did not turn on his sirens. Adame said when he crossed through the red light at the intersection, Tropper Arana?s unit was struck by the truck. All she saw at that moment, she said, was smoke.

The teens then called their friends who had been driving ahead of them to turn around, Adame said. At that time, the boys in the group ran over Trooper Arana?s vehicle. They said they believed the men in the truck were dead because it was so badly smashed and there was no movement inside the vehicle.

The boys described how they unbuckled Arana?s seatbelt, and tried to pry him out of the smashed door but he was stuck. A fire started to grow inside the cabin, heating up Trooper Arana?s ammunition and the bullets started to fire off.

?Human instinct tells you, you see a man hurting, you try to get in there and help him,? Amador said. ?When something like that is preventing you, it?s pretty hard.?

From that point, the haunting images the teens described are too graphic to share. DPS officials have not released an update from the investigation, other than what was given to the media Saturday morning.

?We will not be releasing any more details on the investigation until our trooper is laid to rest,? DPS spokeswoman Trooper Elizabeth Barney, said.

The funeral mass for Trooper Arana is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Friday, at Most Holy Trinity Church. Masses of law enforcement officials are expected to attend. Arana, who served in the Marines and did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, leaves behind his wife, Cindy, and five children.

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