Bicyclist was heading home from work when killed in hit-and-run crash in East End, family says

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Friday, June 10, 2022
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Sajid Barajas, 47, was a husband and father of four. "You left a family without a son, a father a cousin, a friend, a husband," his family said in a message to the hit-and-run driver.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Family and friends gathered to help make sure their loved one, a bicyclist who was killed in a hit-and-run crash on Memorial Day in Houston's Greater East End, is not forgotten.

Nearly two weeks later, they returned to the place where Sajid Barajas was killed.

FIEL, or Familias Immigrantes Estudiantes en la lucha, joined Barajas' family to honor him.

According to Houston police, the 47-year-old man was riding his bicycle in the 300 block of South Cesar Chavez Boulevard near Rusk at about 2:15 a.m. on May 30, when the driver of a white Nissan Altima hit Barajas from behind.

Barajas was thrown onto the road, near a railroad track. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

FIEL's executive director Cesar Espinosa said that Barajas was on the way home from work after a long shift when he was killed.

Barajas worked at the Grocers Supply distribution center on Holcombe Boulevard. It took him around one hour to get to and from his job.

Two of Barajas' co-workers attended the press conference held by FIEL on Friday and described the husband and father of four as an example of good, one of the nicest people you could ever meet, and a hard worker.

Barajas also talked about his family often and wanting to retire to be with them.

The victim's children are ages 22, 21, 18 and 9. According to Espinosa, the family learned four months ago that the youngest child has epileptic seizures so the family now needs financial support for treatment.

The family is from Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico, and because relatives are still there, Espinosa says they had to travel for hours to make it to Houston after learning of Barajas' death.

A cousin who spoke, Sylvia Cervantes, claims that the family was not notified about Barajas by police, but rather the news, whatever information the medical examiner had to offer and whatever his landlord knew.

They have no leads, Cervantes says.

Police say the driver of the Altima was speeding when they hit Barajas, left the car in a nearby parking lot and ran away.

Authorities later discovered the car was stolen. A description of the driver was not immediately disclosed. Investigators took custody of the Nissan to process it for DNA, HPD Sgt. David Rose told ABC13 after the crash.

"We want to urge the community that if you saw something, that you say something. That you come forward and not be afraid in order to get this family the justice and closure that they deserve," said Espinosa on Friday.

"The person that did this, we know you're watching, and please turn yourself in," Cervantes said. "You can't run forever. You have to pay for what you did."

FIEL said the family is asking for three things: a full and thorough investigation, that the community says something if they have information, and for accountability from the city.

"There is a sidewalk, but it's nowhere near where it needs to be. There's a lot of safety measures often times that people and pedestrians face as they move around the city of Houston. So we need for things to change and the only way we're gonna get things to change is for folks to come forward and express that enough is enough," Espinosa said, adding that groups are organizing a bike ride in his honor.

They are also in contact with Ghost Bikes, a project that creates memorials by placing white bikes at the sites where tragedies have occurred involving cyclists. Barajas will be honored with both a bike and a plaque where he died, Espinosa said.

According to the family, there are businesses with surveillance cameras in the area where Barajas was hit, and where flowers in his memory now exist.

"You left a family without a son, a father, a cousin, a friend, a husband. All I can say is we need justice," Cervantes said.

FIEL says that while Barajas was a U.S. citizen, his family has a more complex immigration background, and the organization plans to help them with that as they search for answers.

Police are reminding the public that drivers are required by state law to render aid and call 911, regardless of what happened or whether they have first-aid training or not.

Anyone with information in the case or on the wanted driver is urged to call the HPD Hit and Run Unit at 713-247-4072. You can also speak anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.