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Vigil held for Runners at Northside Park

Community mourns after tragic accident.

By Judith Mae Aguilar, Senior Reporter
On September 24, 2015

After the death of two Texas A&M International University alumni, the Laredo community came together to remember them in a special vigil at Northside Park located on International Boulevard.

On the morning of Saturday, August 30, 2015, three friends were running on Jacaman when a currently enrolled TAMIU student lost control of his vehicle and hit the runners; Karina Villarreal, a teacher at St. Augustine Elementary School, Adriana Gonzalez Rodriguez, a teach at Ruiz Elementary School, and Monica Pastrana. The accident resulted in the death of Villarreal and Rodriguez, and left Pastrana in critical condition.

The following day, runners from both sides of the border came together and honored their friends and spoke of their love for their family and of running. The two runners that died were part of a growing community of runners that participated regularly in marathons and other running competitions around Texas.

Speakers at the event called to remember the lives of the two runners that died and to remember to be conscience of your surroundings, to be aware of others, especially vehicles, so that such a tragedy would not occur again.

Another issue brought up was how all the groups could come together so that they could improve the condition of safety for runners and bicyclists throughout Laredo

There was talk of joining together and petitioning for safety measures for the city, and that information would be forthcoming in the following months.

As the sun set over the park, attendees lighted candles and had a moment of silence to honor the women who died and prayed for Pastrana who was in critical condition at a San Antonio hospital.

Those gathered at the vigil then ended the observance by taking a ceremonial run around the park.

The accident is still being investigated by Laredo Police Department, however, there is speculation that it was caused due to distracted driving. This in turn has caused the citywide circulation of apps that would help curb such life-threatening tendencies.

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