Police chief bringing awareness to motorists after cyclist fatality

Police Chief Orando Rodriguez

Many believe having an education these days is priceless, and that's why students are willing to make sacrifices to obtain one.

Brownsville Police said that was the case with 14-year-old Damian Ochoa.

He was a 9th grade student at Lopez High School and on the weekends he would travel to Matamoros in Mexico, to visit his parents who still live there.

Ochoa was on his way to the Gateway International Bridge Saturday to cross over when tragedy struck.

"He was riding his bike on International (Boulevard), preliminary investigations show he was riding on the wrong side of the street or against traffic," Interim Police Chief Orlando Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez the fatal accident happened at the busy intersection of international boulevard near Highway 77 tractor was exiting the highway on this off ramp, police said and Ochoa was riding his bike heading south on International Boulevard, the faint orange marks on the road show where Ochoa was struck and killed.

"It was on a highly traveled area and we really need to bring to the attention that motorists need to be very careful and aware of cyclist that are out there," Rodriguez said.

By the same token, some cyclists we spotted on the road, admit they too can take more precautions to stay safe.

William McDugan rode right past Action 4 News cameras near the intersection without making a stop to check for oncoming traffic from the ramp.

"I was over by the Wal-Mart and I accidentally couldn't stop and I hit a car, but I was lucky it was just a bump," McDugan said.

Chief Rodriguez said the city has added bike lanes on major roadways like Alton Gloor, Paredes and FM 802, and cyclists should take advantage of those areas in order to save themselves from heavy traffic.

Bicycle safety and motorist awareness (are important) so that we can continue to co-exist, Rodriguez said.