SAN ANTONIO – The family of a man who was fatally hit by a train Friday morning held a vigil at the accident location, remembering someone they say was a hardworking man who loved his family.
That man has been identified as Giovanni Pansza-Orosco, 23. His sister, Lauren Orosco, said she was devastated by the news.
“He had just left around 10 a.m. for a job interview,” Orosco said. “He had his headphones on, walking along the railroad tracks, just enjoying his day, you know.”
“His wife had called us and said she hadn’t heard anything from him and nobody had heard anything from him for a while but that a person was hit by a train near their home,” said Adrian Martinez, his brother-in-law.
San Antonio police said the train conductor told them he sounded the train horn to warn Pansza-Orosco but he continued to walk on the tracks despite hearing the warning. Orosco said she is certain that wasn’t the case and that the train caught her brother by surprise.
“He didn’t hear the train coming, and from what I gathered from a few neighbors, just the front tires hit him and dragged him 100 yards,” Orosco said. “He didn’t do this on purpose. It wasn’t intentional, despite what everyone is saying right now.”
She said her brother was happy and loved his pregnant wife and 1-year-old daughter very much, which is why she is sure suicide was never an option for him.
“He was literally happy to have a job interview because he was excited about providing for his family,” Orosco said. “It just doesn’t feel real right now. He’s gone, and it just doesn’t feel real at all. We all keep messaging him as if he is going to answer or look for him when we are driving down the street, hoping he would just pop up. Hours just kept going by, and the later it got, the more I knew it had to be him.”
She said her brother was a hardworking man with a big sense of humor.
“He was a jokester, always making all of us laugh,” Orosco said. “He just wanted to live in the moment. He loved sports."
“He was the most loving person I have ever met,” said Martinez. “He would call me every day to see how I was doing. His kids were my kids and my kids are his kids.”
On top of being a great spirited man, his sister said he was also stubborn but in a good way.
“He was very stubborn, but that was one of his best qualities because he was so motivated in everything he did and had so much pride not to let anyone help him out,” Orosco said. “He was just well driven. After he had his daughter, he straightened his life out for the better. He had wonderful goals especially after learning his wife was pregnant again.”
She said right now, their parents are taking the news real hard.
“I just remember telling our mom and she just kept screaming until she hung up,” said Orosco. “Her and our dad are taking it hard. No parent should ever have to bury their child. If it had to be one of us to go first, it would have been me since I am the oldest.”
During the vigil, which was held on the tracks at South Sabinas and Saltillo Street, family members released balloons and prayed as they remembered "Gio."
His sister said she not only wants this to be a wake-up call of how dangerous trains can be, but to tell her brother’s story.
“I just wanted to get his story straight for all to know,” Orosco said. “I don’t want everyone to assume the worst. We don’t want him to be misunderstood. We have no ill feelings toward anyone right now because it was all just an unfortunate accident.”
More importantly, she wants this to remind others to never take family for granted.
“Enjoy every minute with them because you never know when it will be the last time you ever see or speak to them.”