‘It’s a nightmare,’ says mom whose son, unborn grandchild killed by suspected drunk driver

Raul Diaz's family mourns his loss. KXAN Photo/ Andrew Choat.

DEL VALLE, Texas (KXAN) — Patricia Morales sat weeping in her Del Valle home Sunday, surrounded by family, wishing she could bring her son, 28-year-old Raul Diaz Jr. back. Morales explained that her son was the man killed by a suspected intoxicated driver going the wrong direction on Farm to Market 973 in Travis County Saturday afternoon.

Diaz’s girlfriend Etefania Soto, 25, was riding the motorcycle with Diaz when he was hit. Soto was six months pregnant with their child at the time. She was ejected from the motorcycle and taken to Dell Children’s Medical Center, said the Texas Department of Public Safety.

DPS confirmed that her unborn child was killed due to her injuries. Dell Seton Medical Center said Soto remained in critical condition as of Sunday night at 9:30 p.m.

Photo of Raul Diaz courtesy of Dusty Rios.
Photo of Raul Diaz courtesy of Dusty Rios.

“He was excited about his first child, my first grandchild,” said Morales between tears. She then held up some clothes she’d removed from his truck, clutching them up to her chest. “They still smell like him.”

While the Republic of Texas Rally was going on nearby at the time Diaz was killed, Morales said that her son was not participating in the rally. Police arrested the truck driver, 41-year-old Cesar Corona-Quiterio, on charges of intoxication manslaughter and intoxication assault. According to an arrest affidavit, Corona-Quiterio had a Mexican Consulate ID but no Texas Driver’s License and he is being held on an ICE detainer. The officer stated that he showed signs of intoxication and had slurred speech, continued in the affidavit. His bail is set at $2 million.

Corona-Quiterio’s arrest this past weekend marks his third arrest in Central Texas in the last 15 years, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The Round Rock Police Department arrested Corona-Quiterio on March 11, 2016, on a misdemeanor charge of driving while license invalid. He pleaded guilty to that charge and was fined $250, in addition to $262 in court costs. He was also arrested on Feb. 27, 2013, on a misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure and pleaded no contest to that charge. He received 12 months of probation in connection with that charge.

Morales said that her son had lived in the Austin area his entire life. She said that he had her sense of humor and was always trying to make others laugh.

“He was cute. He was very handsome,” she said, smiling at a photo of her son.

Diaz was a painter like his father, who is now battling stage four cancer.

“When he was frustrated, he would come and cry to me and say, ‘Mom, I don’t know what to do anymore because I feel responsible for my dad to support his family. And now that I have a child, I have that responsibility, too,'” Morales said.

Cesar Quiterio (Austin Police Department Photo)
Cesar Quiterio (Austin Police Department Photo)

“I would tell him, ‘You know what, Raul, just pray to God, and then God will bless you for everything you’re doing for your dad.’ And then this happens — all of a sudden this happens,” she said with exasperation.

Initially, Morales said she couldn’t believe her son was the one killed in the crash, even when she began seeing comments on social media about his death. But his girlfriend’s family confirmed the details to her, and the timelines all matched up. But no official has contacted her letting her know her son had died or what happened to him — all she knows has come from social media and news reports.

“Nobody’s told me any information, and I don’t feel like it’s fair, it’s like nobody cares,” she said.

Morales said that an entire bedroom of her home is full of clothes and toys for the baby, who was going to be named Elizabeth. Their family was planning baby showers and ultrasound appointments. Now, they will be planning burials.

“I feel like it’s a nightmare, a nightmare I want to wake up from, and I know I never will,” Morales said. “As much as you try to protect your kids, it’s impossible and nowadays, because of the traffic, Austin has grown so much. But I just want my son, you know?”

You can find the GoFundMe page to support Diaz’ family here. 

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