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Victim killed in Harbor Bridge crash remembered as loving father and "friend to all"

Loved ones tell 3News that Banda was a loving father and a friend to all. He would have turned 28 later this month.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The second victim of Wednesday night's wrong-way crash on the Harbor Bridge was identified Thursday as 27-year-old Mathew Adam Banda. 

Loved ones tell 3News that the Sinton native was a loving father to a baby girl who just turned two-years-old. 

Banda's been described as a "friend to all," and a "kind-hearted soul." He also served four years in the Navy. He would have turned 28 later this month.

Credit: Friends, loved ones
Credit: friends, loved ones

Sinton High School baseball coach Adrian Alaniz tells 3NEWS Banda played baseball and football until his junior year. 

Credit: friends, loved ones

On Thursday, the Corpus Christi Police Department had to shut down the southbound lanes of the Harbor Bridge to further investigate Wednesday night's deadly head-on crash, which was reportedly caused by a drunk driver going the wrong way.

San Patricio County Communications Operator, Betsy Mandujano, was also killed in the crash, and another person was seriously injured.

San Patricio County Sheriff, Oscar Rivera, said a 35-year-old woman who was driving the wrong way hit Mandujano's car head-on as she was driving into Corpus Christi with Banda.  

RELATED: 'Torn apart by this tragedy': San Patricio County communications operator dies in Harbor Bridge crash, sheriff says

The woman will be charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter and one count of intoxication assault in the crash.

Her name currently is not being released because she is being treated for her injuries at a local hospital. Corpus Christi police said once she is released, her identity will be as well.

Sheriff Rivera and his entire staff are in a state of shock over this tragedy involving one of their own. He describes the moment he got the call.

"Around 10:30, I'm getting calls from one of my investigators and she can't find Betsy and uh, so we get the phone call," he said. "I called dispatch (and ask them), 'Can you confirm with Corpus and see if one of our dispatchers is involved, Betsy Mandujano.'"

Mandujano was a beloved, longtime dispatcher for San Patricio County. On Thursday, her body was escorted by law enforcement to Resthaven Funeral Home. Rivera told 3NEWS that they arranged her escort from the medical examiner's office as just one way to honor her memory.

"That's a tribute to them and to her family, that she's still one of our family," he said.

The sheriff says he doesn't know how he'll be able to replace her, and now refers to her as one of their angels. 

On Sunday, November 6th at 6:30 p.m., the San Patricio County Sheriff's Office will hold a candlelight vigil in her honor. According to Sheriff Rivera, the community is invited to attend. The department is located at 300 N Rachal Ave in Sinton.

Digital director Ana Tamez, multiskilled journalist Michael Gibson and 3News anchor Leslie Adami contributed to this story. 

RELATED: TxDOT says wrong-way driver detection system will soon be in Corpus Christi

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