Family and friends hold vigil for woman killed at VIA bus stop this week

Loved ones gathered in memory of Monique Francine Rodriguez

SAN ANTONIO – It was early Thursday morning, right before 7 a.m., when Monique Rodriguez set foot out her door and down the street to the bus stop. Her great aunt Martha Garcia said she was on her way to the first day of her new job.

“She was just starting a new job at a dentist’s office and waiting for the bus, totally unaware of what happened, had no idea where that car came from,” Garcia said.

Instead of being greeted by her new employer, police say Rodriguez was struck by a black Chevrolet sedan driven by 18-year-old Melanie Mariah Gaiton.

Gaiton is accused of fatally striking Rodriguez as she sat at the VIA bus stop in the 800 block of Culebra Road and Navidad Street.

San Antonio police say Gaiton was driving east in her sedan at a high rate of speed on Culebra Road when she tried to pass a car by traveling in the center turn lane.

For an unknown reason, police said she drove onto the westbound lanes of Culebra Road, struck a curb, and drove up on the sidewalk near Navidad and Culebra.

“We know that the gravity of the situation and her death will put them away, so it doesn’t happen to someone else -- become victims of reckless driving, drunk driving. An 18-year-old, and the boy, a 17-year-old at 7:00 in the morning. Oh, my God,” Garcia said.

Rodriguez leaves behind her 3-year-old daughter. Her grandmother said the child’s birthday is just in a couple of weeks.

“Monique was a free spirit, very loving, very kind, very patient, and wonderful mommy,” Garcia said.

San Antonio police said Gaiton is charged with intoxication manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid resulting in death. She was evaluated for signs of intoxication and later booked into the Bexar County Jail. Her bond is set at $180,000.

About the Authors:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT’s Good Morning San Antonio. He’s a bilingual award-winning news reporter and he joined KSAT in 2021. Before coming to San Antonio, Cotto was reporting along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas. He’s a veteran of the United States Navy.