Joe Anthony Salas-Castro, 29, was driving with his three kids on Saturday in Caldwell County when a FedEx van drove through a flashing red light, driving right into their car.
The father and his two sons, nine-year-old Joe and four-year-old Jayden, died in the crash. His two-year-old daughter, Jazalynn, was the only one buckled in when the crash happened. She survived. She was taken to Dell Children’s Medical Center with serious injuries.
Family and friends gathered Sunday in Austin for a benefit for the family. They helped raise money and gave each other support as they looked back on the three lives lost.
“We had conversations on an every day basis,” said Justo Sanchez of his relationship with Joe Salas-Castro, “It’s hard to realize he’s gone.”
Sanchez says Salas-Castro was like a brother and mentor.
“We started this car club, me and him together, and it’s just not going to be the same without him,” Sanchez said.
He and dozens of others got together at The Rim Shop on Airport Boulevard Sunday for a benefit barbeque.
“To bury three loved ones at once is–one is hard enough–let alone, three,” said Adriana Cadengo, a friend of the family.
Cadengo says it was great to see the outpouring of support, that the family deserved.
“Joe was a lovable person. He had a really good attitude. He’s always making anybody laugh,” said Cadengo.
The crash happened Saturday morning at the intersection of highway 183 and FM 1185 in Caldwell County. State troopers say the driver of a FedEx van ran through a flashing red light and hit the family’s SUV coming across the intersection.
Sanchez says the 29-year-old father was with the three people who meant the world to him.
“A lot of us know him and appreciate the work he’s done; and not just the work–as a man. We see him at car shows, and see the way he is with his family,” said Sanchez.
The driver of the FedEx van was not seriously injured but did go to University Medical Center Brackenridge for treatment. FedEx told KXAN they extend their condolences to the family and that they’re cooperating with investigators.
The two-year-old girl is recovering at Dell Children’s hospital.