New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 19, 1999, New Braunfels, Texas
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Talking, driving a bad mix
Study: Using phones while driving increases risk for traffic accident
By Erin Magruder
By the year 2000,80 million Americans will have cellular phones in their vehicles.
New Braunfels Police Traffic Lt John Wommack hopes they will pay more attention to the road than one man did three years ago when he ran into a moving train.
“He was talking on his cell phone, and he just never saw the train,” Wommack said. “He hit like the ninth car, not even the first, and then bounced off the train. He was very lucky he wasn’t hurt.”
A recent University of Toronto study published in the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that talking on the phone while driving increases the risk of collision four-fold.
And with more Americans going cellular by the minute, that number is sure to increase.
'Talking on the phone and driving is becoming more dangerous,” Wommack said. “We need more public awareness about the risks of doing it. Just the other day, I gave a man who was talking on his cell phone a ticket for running right through a stop sign.”
The problem of cell phones as a driving hazard drew national attention on March 6 when country singer George Jones, 67, hit a bridge abutment south of Nashville, Term., with his sport utility vehicle. Jones, who was seriously injured in the collision, was talking on his cell phone when the accident occurred.
A recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study found that crashes usually did not occur while a driver is dialing or answering a cell phone, but rather during conversation.
“If someone is driving down the road and having an important business discussion, where do you think their attention is?” Wommack said.
State Rep. Paul Moreno, D-El Paso, saw
TxDOT employees begin investigation of accident
Trevino’s co-workers return to business
By Chris Crews
The Comal County tax office opened foi business as usual at 8 a.m. Thursday, but the memory of co-worker Yolanda Trevino prevented employees from going about their tasks with their usual good cheer.
“We’re down but we came to work because we have a duty,” said tax asses-sor-collector Gloria German, Trevino’s boss for the past 11 years. “A hug here and a smile there keep us going.”
Trevino, 60, was killed about 2 p.m. Wednesday when she was struck by a pickup truck driven by Rudolpho Orona, 33, of Seguin. The accident occurred while Trevino was crossing North Seguin Avenue in front of the tax office.
Justice of the Peace Diana Campos ruled Trevino dead on the scene.
Lt. John Wommack of the New Braunfels Police said Thursday that Orona would be cited for failure to yield right-of-way to a pedestrian, a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.
Wommack said he never seriously considered filing the felony charge of involuntary manslaughter.
'To charge (involuntary manslaughter), we would have to prove recklessness, speed and/or alcohol,” Wommack said. “There was just none of that there.” Wommack said Orona’s appearance date in municipal court would be April I.
Greg Malatek, area engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation, said he had not seen the accident report, but the information was consistent with how the stop light and signals should operate.
“If a driver on Mill Street has a green light, a pedestrian probably has a walk signal as well,” Malatek said.
He said his knowledge of the traffic laws indicated the pedestrian would have the right-of-way in that situation.
Technicians from the TxDOT district office in San Antonio checked the signals on Thursday. The crossing time allowed was consistent with state standards, Malatek said.
State regulations indicate that pedestrians can negotiate a crosswalk at a rate of four feet per second. TxDOT employees measured the crosswalk at 62 feet.
At the rate of four rfet per second, a pedestrian should be able to negotiate the crosswalk in 15.5 seconds, Malatek said. When the crosswalk button was pushed, pedestrians had 22 seconds to cross the street.
“Time was not a factor in this accident,” Malatek said.
The flood of 1998 was just another chapter in our city’s constant battle with its
rivers. See how the Comal and Guadalupe have served as both friend and foe to New Braunfels this century. / Inside
Trevino remembered as loving daughter, mother
By Bill O’Connell Staff Writer
Yolanda Trevino could be found regularly on Saturday evenings at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Qiurch.
The 60-year-old New Braunfels resident attended the 5:30 p.m. Mass at the Catholic church at 138 W. Austin Street.
Between her TREVINO full-time job at the Comal County tax collector’s office and caring for her elderly mother, Trevino perhaps found moments of solace during those services.
The Rev. Richard Oberstar will see Trevino one last time on Saturday, when he officiates her funeral Mass. Trevino was struck by a pickup truck and killed Wednesday afternoon while walking across a busy city intersection.
Co-workers and other county employees watched her die in front of die building in which she had worked for more than IO years.
Trevino was one of four children raised by Roberto and Angelito Davila of New Braunfels. Her father was a truck driver and her mother stayed at home to care for the children.
Trevino’s family gathered Thursday evening at her home in preparation for the funeral.
Her younger brother, Rolando Davila, said he remembered a quiet
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person with a genuine interest in helping people.
“The world was a better place with her in it,” he said.
Church was one of Trevino’s greatest passions, her family said. She read religious books with inspirational messages and filled her house with angel figurines and collectibles, some of which she crafted herself.
“She was very devoted to prayer,” said 25-year-old Luis Trevino, the son and only child Yolanda raised as a single parent.
Yolanda Trevino’s family said they had been too involved with dealing
A Texas Department of Transportation employee, who asked not to be identified, checks the computers and other mechanisms inside a signal box at Mill Street and Seguin Avenue on Thursday. TxDOT officials were there to make sure the lights and crossing signals were working properly at the time of Wednesday’s fatal accident.
Yolanda Trevino raised her 25-year-old son, Luis, as a single parent. “She was very devoted to prayer,” Luis Trevino said.
Clinton Baermann paints in the remaining sand and water areas on the downtown mural near Casted and San Antonio streets in anticipation for its dedication, scheduled for 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Nine CISD patrons running for two board of trustee seats
By Heather Togo Staff Writer
Nine patrons will have their names on the May I ballot for two seats on a local school board after the last candidate filed late Wednesday afternoon.
Suzan Casey, a New Braunfels resident, was the final candidate to throw her hat into the ring for the District 3 seat on the Comal Independent School District board
of trustees. She filed shortly before the deadline of 5 p.m. on Wednesday.
Casey is the only woman competing for the District 3 position. Judy A. Holbrook, a Canyon Lake resident, is running for the District 4 seat.
Casey is running against incumbent Scott Watson, New Braunfels resident Pat Broaddus and Canyon Lake resident Nick