2008-06-11 / Front Page

Man dies after being struck by train in downtown Raymondville

Witness: "No horn was blown by the conductor"
ROBERT WILCOX Editor/Reporter

Witness: "No horn was blown by the conductor"

A TRAIN STRUCK AND KILLED a Raymondville man late Wednesday afternoon. The man was seen walking across the tracks by witnesses about 10 yards south of a gated crossing near the Ed's Store on N. 7th Street. EMS personnel and the Raymondville Police responded to the scene.
A Raymondville man was struck and killed by a northbound train about 10 yards south of a gated crossing adjacent to U.S. Business 77 on Wednesday afternoon. The man was walking westbound over the oncoming train's tracks at about 3:15 p.m., according to a witness.

Daniel Vela, 47, was pronounced dead at the scene, by Justice of the Peace George Solis.

One witness, Rogelio Cruz of Raymondville, said he and his sons saw the whole thing happen behind Ed's Store on N. 7th Street

"Daniel was walking over the tracks when the train hit him," Cruz said. "No horn was blown by the conductor. He had just gotten up and was walking back to the store."

"His mother told me he had just finished eating," Cruz added. "He was hit by the front of the train and then flew in the air."

Willacy County EMS and the Raymondville Police responded to the incident which blocked traffic for the rest of the afternoon.

This is the third train related death in three years in Willacy County. Chronicle/News records show about 12 train deaths in the past 10 years.

In January of last year, a woman's baby died from injuries suffered to the mother from a train accident near the Casa Blanca Restaurant. In September of 2006, a Lyford man died from injuries suffered in an accident near the Lyford Gin.

Cruz was interviewed by train officials about 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, he later told the Chronicle/News.

"I told them the same thing I've told you," Cruz said.

Vela's brother, Homer Vela, Jr., said he will sorely miss his brother.

SISTER PALLBEARERS - Irma Vela, Susana Almanza, Mary Ann Loya, Leticia Longoria, Sylvia Longoria and Belinda Gomez served as pallbearers for their brother, at Daniel Vela’s funeral mass and internment Saturday.


"This was very unexpected for us - I got a call later that afternoon," Homer Vela said. "We all have our destinies."

"My brother would always drop by to talk with me Sunday mornings, while we drank coffee and read the newspaper," Homer Vela said. "Rogelio never got married and was a gentleman. He always visited his mother, and my sisters who live here."

Judge Solis said he heard the speed of the train was 47 m.p.h.

"Mr. Vela's mother and sister were at the scene, and were advised of his death by the police." Judge Solis said. "His mother was quite upset and had to be escorted away. I have ordered an autopsy."

Rogelio Vela was buried last Saturday at Raymondville Memorial Park Cemetery.

The incident is still under investigation by police and train officials. E-mail comments on this story to; robert@raymondvillechroniclenews.com

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