Two people were killed in separate traffic incidents about 90 minutes apart Tuesday night; a boy was struck and killed while crossing street in northeast El Paso, while an elderly woman died in a vehicle collision at a busy Lower Valley intersection.
Police said 77-year old Matilde Martinez Romero died Wednesday at University Medical Center from injuries she suffered in a two-car crash about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at North Loop and Lafayette. Investigators said Romero’s car was broadsided when she turned in front of another car that had the right-of-way.
Then about 8 p.m. Tuesday, police said 13-year old Brian Velasquez was taken to University Medical Center with life-threatening injures after being struck by a pickup truck in the 9800 block of Dyer. He later died at the hospital, police confirmed Wednesday. The boy’s family set up a GoFundMe to help pay for his funeral expenses.
Witnesses said the boy was on a scooter and crossing in the middle of the street with his 14-year-old sister when he was hit. Police said the area is poorly lit and the kids were not crossing at either an intersection or crosswalk. Although the driver initially took off in what was thought to be a case of hit-and-run, he returned to the scene later in the night.
Velasquez was a student at Terrace Hills Middle School. Students at the school told ABC-7 he was a funny and enjoyable person before his mother died earlier this year.
“This was before he lost his mom to cancer and it was really sad for him after that. he had changed a lot after it happened,” said Michelle Pacheco, 8th grader and friend of the victim. “He stopped showing up to classes I had with him and he started distancing himself from a lot of people. He stopped talking a lot.” Pacheco told ABC-7 the boy had been living with his teenage sister.
EPPD said the Tuesday night’s deaths were the 53rd and 54th traffic fatalities of the year.