Innocent motorcyclist killed in chase crash was only son, primary breadwinner, family says

Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Innocent driver killed in chase was family's breadwinner
Andres Saldano Sorto had dreams of becoming a welder and providing for his family, but that dream was cut short Monday when he was killed in a chase.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A 16-year-old driver is facing multiple charges for the death of a man whom he's accused of crashing into during a police chase.

The innocent driver was Andres Saldano Sorto, who was 19 years old and the primary breadwinner for his family.

Speaking through her granddaughter's translation, Maria Saldano shared the grief of losing her only son, saying, "He was a good kid and that he was a really good student and he just went to work and didn't go out with his friends and he just really cared."

Sorto was riding his motorcycle home from one of two restaurant jobs at about 2 a.m. Monday.

At the same time, police said a 16-year-old, suspected of driving drunk while street racing in a stolen car, was fleeing from police on the North Freeway.

The teen driver exited the freeway at triple-digit speeds and blew through the stop light at FM 1960 and the frontage road, police said.

Sorto was hit and died at the scene despite life-saving measures from the officer who initiated the pursuit.

His motorcycle was ripped to pieces. Police on the scene described the crash as horrendous.

"He was a very sweet and kind guy. He would go above and beyond to help others," Diego Martinez, Sorto's childhood best friend, said.

Amid his grief, Martinez has questions for Houston police, saying, "I heard in other states they don't do pursuits. They use helicopters and drones. Why don't we implement that?"

Sorto was responsible for providing for his parents. He was a server at Mambo Seafood off the North Freeway where his mother also works in the kitchen. He also took a second job at Shokku Ramen in the Heights.

"Ever since my grandpa got sick with diabetes, (Sorto) started working to support them," Ariela Hernandez, Sorto's niece, said.

The Carver High School graduate dreamt of becoming a welder to better provide for his parents, but on Monday morning, those dreams disappeared.

"We're really sad because he is not going to be there anymore, and it's just a really hard thing to understand," Hernandez said.

HPD's pursuit policy was edited two months following another deadly crash.

There is an internal investigation into this chase to determine if the new, tightened policy was followed.

The officer who initiated the chase was placed on administrative duty.

The 16-year-old suspect is facing five felony charges, including murder. Prosecutors have not yet said if they plan to try him as an adult.

Sorto's family has created a GoFundMe to help cover the cost of their son's funeral.