Mother frustrated with negligent drivers after son's death

Mauricio Rodriguez Zuniga, 26, killed after car broke down on side of road

By Japhanie Gray - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - A mother is frustrated after her son was hit and killed by a car, just like his father.

Blanca Castaneda said 26-year-old Mauricio Rodriguez Zuniga had just taken his car out of the mechanic's shop when he broke down Tuesday night on the side of the road on Loop 410 near Vance Jackson Road. 

"He called my daughter because he was having car trouble, so my daughter went. And she said he was trying to fix the car when they saw a car coming, and it hit him and threw him in the air," Castaneda said. 

Castaneda said she found out about the incident at the hospital. 

"My other daughter came for me, told me and took me to the hospital," Castaneda said. "I kept asking, 'What's happening?' But she didn't want to tell me because I have high blood pressure. When I got to the hospital, everyone was in the waiting room and everyone was crying. After about three hours, all the doctors came out and they told us he had passed away." 

Castaneda said the most devastating part of her son's death is that he is leaving behind two daughters. 

"The girls don't know," Castaneda said. "How are we supposed to tell them? His daughters were his everything. He cared for them, even though they were separated. He never left them, and now a stupid woman took him from me. She took my girls' father. He didn't deserve that. He was just fixing his car when that lady passed and threw him in the air." 

Castaneda said her son was just turning his life around. 

"He had already fixed himself from drugs, and he had two jobs," she said. "He would say, 'As soon as I get paid, I'm going to gather money to buy my girls Christmas presents.' But they took him from me, they ripped him from me." 

Castaneda said she remembers her son being strong and brave, and though they had little spats, they joked around a lot. She said Zuniga's death also hits close to home because his father was struck and killed by a vehicle while he was walking to the store in Laredo a few years ago. 

"People, don't drive like that! It's the law, but they don't understand," Castaneda said. "They think it's easy to drink and say, 'I can leave in my car,' but no, it happened to my son. Tomorrow it can happen again, and they don't understand that." 

Castaneda wants her son's fatality to be a lesson for others. 

She said the family is working on funeral arrangements, which includes plans to bury Zuniga in Mexico, where his father is laid to rest.

Blanca Juanita Torres, 38, who police said was driving the Nissan that hit and killed Zuniga, was arrested on a charge of intoxication manslaughter. Torres is being held in lieu of $100,000 bond.

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