'It's never OK': Family spreading awareness after loved one was killed by alleged drunk driver

Monday, February 13, 2023
Mother drives past car accident her son was in, police say
Elijah Rangel was driving home with donuts for his family before a driver, who police said exhibited signs of intoxication, slammed into him last weekend.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A family is warning others not to drink and drive after 26-year-old Elijah Rangel lost his life after a driver slammed into him last weekend.

"He was bringing donuts for his friends and their kids, and he was driving back to their house," Mayra Urban, his sister, said.

According to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, on Feb. 4. Erik Alonso Salinas was in a gray GMC Sierra in the 14900 block of Beaumont Highway around 5:30 a.m.

Deputies said he failed to yield the right of way while making a left turn and crashed into Rangel.

Salinas drove off the roadway, and rolled into a ditch, according to deputies. He exhibited signs of intoxication, investigators said. Salinas is in the hospital and has not been charged yet.

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Urban and her sister Anahi Rangel said their mother drove past the accident on her way to work, not knowing her son was involved in the crash.

"Their family can visit him at the hospital anytime and my mom literally has to go to a cemetery to visit him," Urban said.

Rangel was accepted into the Harris County Sheriff's Office Explorer Program, according to his sisters. However, he decided to pursue his passion for art and was an up-and-coming local tattoo artist.

"The only thing we have left is seeing people's tattoos," Urban said.

"He had just perfected his craft," Anahi said.

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According to the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas has consistently led the United States in crashes and fatalities. Harris County had the highest number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in Texas, with 243 lives lost.

"He was taken away from us," Anahi said.

The two sisters want to spread their message in the hopes people think twice before they get behind the wheel.

"It's never OK. There are so many options like Uber, Lyft, everything like that, for you to get home safely," Urban said. "You don't need to have a drink or two and then get behind the wheel and kill someone else."

The family has created a GoFundMe to help with funeral arrangements.

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