This week is a sad anniversary for some friends of ours from church — the anniversary of the car accident in Mexico that killed five of their family members. Here is the original newspaper article about it from last year.
Nine members of the Huazano and Rangel families were rushing home to San Francisco after a visit with relatives in Mexico so their children could be back for the first day of school Monday.
The longtime Bayview district residents never made it. At about 7 o’clock Sunday morning, the family’s Chevrolet Suburban ran off the road near the town of Magdalena in the Mexican state of Sonora, just an hour south of the Arizona border, according to officials there.
Ireri Huazano Rangel, 31, apparently had been driving all night and fell asleep at the wheel, said Jorge Urrea, an official with the Mexican federal highway police in Magdalena. She survived the crash, but five other relatives did not. Neither Huazano Rangel nor any of the passengers appeared to be wearing seatbelts, he said.
“It is a pain that can’t be put into words,” said Ruben Rangel, the brother of Huazano Rangel‘s husband, Ubaldo, who died in the crash. “Ubaldo was one of the most beautiful people in the world. He worked a lot in his church and always tried to help everybody.”
Rangel said the family had spent about three weeks in the town of Tarimbaro, in the state of Michoacan, visiting with family members, including his ailing mother.
“My mother suffered a heart attack and she was at death’s door, so Ubaldo went to see her,” he said. “Now she’s on her way to identify his body at the mortuary in Magdalena.”
In addition to Ubaldo Rangel, 35, those killed were Ireri Huazano Rangel‘s father, Rodrigo Huazano Sr., 53; her brother Andrew Huazano, 17; her daughter Amelia Rangel, 11; and her son Luis Alberto Rangel, 8, according to family members and Mexican officials.
The close-knit family had lived for more than two decades in the Bayview district, where Rodrigo Huazano Sr. and his wife, Amelia, ran a taco truck and raised their four children.
Huazano Sr. was known in the neighborhood as a jack-of-all-trades who helped neighbors retile their bathrooms and fix their roofs and cars.
“He’s a very good neighbor,” said Arturo Jaochico, 54. “He’s very helpful. “
In recent years the couple had given up the grueling hours of food preparation and opened a family day-care center in their home on Thornton Avenue, neighbors said.
“They were hardworking people, very family oriented,” said next-door neighbor Jerry Hayden. “It’s quite a sad story. You expect to see these kids grow up.”
Hayden, a carpenter, said Ubaldo Rangel was a fellow member of his union, Carpenters Union Local 22. He added that as a youngster, Andrew used to play with his own son, who was close in age, and the two boys would do their math homework together at his house.
Andrew was to enter 11th grade at Mission High School, where he played varsity baseball and football and had dreams of going to college.
Principal Kevin Truitt told teachers and the football team about Andrew’s death at the end of the day Monday. The rest of the student body was to hear the news in their first-period classes today.
Andrew was described by teachers and students at Mission High as a gentle giant — a big kid with an even bigger smile who never quit. “He’d be the most tired of everyone, but somehow he’d be able to smile,” said Oscar Stingily, a fellow football player. “Some people need to be reminded that this is really fun, and Drew would always be the one to do that.”
Football player Tim Feerick’s voice shook as he spoke of the unexpected loss of his friend.
“For something like this to happen, it’s terrible,” he said. “It’s like losing a family member.”
Luis Alberto and Amelia Rangel were students at Rooftop Elementary School and attended a summer program at the Glen Park Recreation Center, neighbors said.
The children’s 2-year-old brother and teenage half-brothers survived the accident but were hospitalized in Tucson, along with their mother, said Ruben Rangel.
“Ireri is physically OK, but emotionally she’s in a terrible state. She’s very distraught,” said Rangel. He said two of the surviving children were seriously injured in the accident.
Other family members from San Francisco rushed to Arizona to be with the survivors, neighbors said. Funeral arrangements are pending.