SAN ANTONIO – After a father of three is killed in a car accident, his devastated family shares a message that anyone who gets in a car needs to hear.
"Life is so precious. It can be gone in a heartbeat. You never know,” the victim’s sister Amy Barrera says. “And always, always, always wear your seat belt."
Dean Barrera was just 28 years old. He was a graduate of Marshall High School.
"Take lots of pictures while you can of you and your loved ones,” Amy says while wiping off the glass of a framed photo her family took for Mother’s Day. "Unfortunately, we won't ever be able to do that. We were supposed to take another one, an updated one. And it's never going to happen now."
With two sons and a baby girl on the way, Dean was making plans for the future.
"He was one of a kind, definitely for sure,” Amy says. “No one else like him."
On Saturday morning, he let his family know he was leaving work downtown.
"He called, said he was coming home,” Amy remembers. “Time came. And we were like, where's Dean? He's not home yet."
After an agonizing 14 hours, she discovered there had been an accident on the access road of I-10 near West Avenue. Dean was gone.
"There was a car that was stalled, and that he swerved and that he and the other car ended up hitting,” Amy says. “And he flipped and was partially ejected. My heart sank and I thought about how I had to tell my mom. You know, how do you tell your mom that her son, her firstborn son, has passed away?"
According to the police report, Dean was not wearing a seat belt.
"It is so important [to wear a seat belt] because my brother might be here today, and now his kids have to grow up without him,” Amy says. “People think all the time, you know, it's not that important to have your seat belt on. And it is."
Dean’s workplace is now helping the family through this difficult time. Mad Dog’s on the Riverwalk is hosting a barbecue plate sale Friday, July 6, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. All proceeds go toward funeral expenses.
The family also has a GoFundMe page to raise money for the funeral.
By EMILY BAUCUM