Monday, August 9, 2010

Sad News From TX

Our condolences to the family and acquaintances of TX tower Rogelio Flores, who died on Friday following a crash with a drunk driver. Here's the story from 39 News:

HOUSTON - An update about a wrecker driver who died after being hit by a drunk driver on Friday. Investigators told 39 News that Rogelio Flores was headed to tow a car, which was driven by a suspected drunken driver. On the way there, a car cut off Flores causing him to veer off the road and into two utility poles.

On Saturday, police charged 25-year-old Rogelio Villalobos with intoxication manslaughter in connection with the death of Rogelio Flores. The accident took place in Northeast Harris County on Jensen Drive near Laura Koppe Road around 1 a.m. on Friday.

39 News spoke with a Houston tow truck driver who knew Flores.

Gomez Gonzalo is no stranger to dangerous situations. A few months ago, Gonzalo was traveling to an accident scene to tow a vehicle. But as Gonzalo was leaving that accident scene, something terrible happened.

"I got hit by another vehicle," said Gonzalo, who moved from Los Angeles to Houston to work for Fast Tow Wrecker Services as a driver.

Gonzalo said a police officer backed up and accidentally ran over his leg.

"The more time you spend on the freeway, the more chances you may get seriously hurt from another vehicle. That's what happened to me," said Gonzalo.

What happened to Gonzalo is an example of the dangers tow truck drivers encounter each day. Gonzalo met Rogelio Flores while working in the field. So when Gonzalo learned about what happened on Friday, his heart just sank.

"It's just [like it happened to] one of us," Gonzalo said concerning the friendships tow truck drivers develop. "It could have been me. It could have been my brother [or] my Dad, you know."

Flores was known for always being careful on the roads. He worked in the tow truck business for over 20 years.

"I mean, he was a good guy. He was a family man. He has a brother [and] he looks out for his brother," Mohammed Yousef, who was Flores' employer for five years, said. "He has a wife. He's a hard working guy. It's a shame to see him go."

Investigators say Rogelio Villalobos is the man responsible for causing Flores' truck to flip over on Friday. Villalobos has been charged with intoxication manslaughter.

"Everybody seems to think that wrecker drivers are the bad people out here until they really need a wrecker," said Yousef.

"Our purpose as the drivers is to save another life," said Gonzalo. "Putting our own lives at risk."

As Gonzalo kneels down to pay his respects to Flores at the accident scene, he still can't believe the way Flores passed away.

"It was somebody's father. He's somebody's friend. Rest in peace," said Gonzalo.

The Flores family told 39 News they need help paying for funeral expenses. If you would like to donate to the Rogelio Flores family fund, stop by any Chase bank.

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