Corpus Christi (KIII news) — Dozens of family members and friends gathered Tuesday evening to remember the life of 16-year-old Rai-Anne Garza at the Funeraria Del Angel-Memorial Home.
Garza was killed by a hit and run driver last week, as she and a friend were leaving king high school. Garza funeral is set for Wednesday at the Believe Church at 4420 South Staples and burial will follow at Seaside Memorial Park.
The tragedy could have been prevented if the driver had been paying attention and following the rules of the road.
Corpus Christi has gotten a reputation for having an abundance of people who ignore the rules and by doing that, put all of the city's lives in jeopardy.
"Speeding, no turn signals, breaking irrationally. There's a lot of young drivers texting and driving," drivers said. "I think there are very bad drivers and irresponsible."
Recently Sherman was off duty and turning on Holly from Everhart when the car in front of him hit head-on by a driver who drifted into oncoming traffic.
The two people hit had non-life-threatening injuries, and the driver was ok but faced a citation.
"People know they aren't supposed to be on their phones and they still do it. people know they aren't supposed to be speeding and they're still doing it," said Corpus Christi Police Department traffic safety captain Russell Sherman.
Sherman said it is a problem the department has been trying to tackle in the area for quite some time the bad driving culture.
"It's going to take some time because you have to remember that sometimes in the minds of these people. They don't see themselves as criminal. They don't see themselves as dangerous. They've seen themselves as being in a hurry," Sherman said.
Defensive driving instructor Gladys Stephan agrees that the primary issue is what goes on in the mind of drivers.
"People do realize what can happen or a lot of people do except their priorities are not what could happen but what they need to do. where they want to go," Stephan said.
Stephan's division has found the majority of injury involved crashes are happening on highways.
"Just this past year the City Council passed an ordinance allowing us to use unmarked vehicles for traffic enforcement. We currently have two vehicles," Sherman said.
Sherman's division is focused on keeping the roadways safe, but it's up to those who get behind the wheel.
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