Accident victim described as a loving father of four
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Stefan Pierre Buckner's demeanor and actions on Saturday night led his family members to believe he knew his time on Earth had come to an end.
"He was quiet that night, which was the total opposite of how he usually was," said Roy Buckner, Stefan's father, as he described his son's behavior at a party he attended hours before his death. "He was always a live and fun guy. That's how I know he knew."
Stefan Buckner, 31, died shortly after leaving the party.
About 3:37 a.m. on Sunday, Buckner was traveling north in his 1999 maroon Buick Century in the 700 block of North Delmar Street.
For unknown reasons, his car left the roadway and veered to the left, said Victoria police officer Travis Hanson.
Hanson said Buckner overcorrected to get back on the road, causing him to leave the roadway again.
Buckner, who was not wearing his seatbelt, struck two trees, causing his vehicle to flip over before coming to a rest on its roof, said Hanson.
No other passengers or vehicles were involved in the accident.
An autopsy has been ordered to determine what may have caused the accident, said Hanson.
In addition to quitting his job three weeks prior to his death and hugging his sister a little longer than usual the night of the party followed by an unexpected "I love you," Stefan's father said his son exhibited other uncharacteristic behaviors that indicated to the family that Stefan had made peace with dying.
"He sent his wife a text message that said, 'Get the kids clothes ready because we are all going to church tomorrow,'" said Stefan's father. "That was the first time he did that."
He added, "He's going to be missed, but at least I know he made peace with God."
The youngest of four children, Stefan Buckner was born in Chicago.
He moved to Victoria when he was two months old.
After graduating from Stroman High School in 1997, he enrolled at Victoria College to major in business.
While in college, Roy Buckner said his son did yard maintenance for the Victoria school district.
"He was a carefree, easy going young man," said Roy Buckner. "He loved working around children."
As a father of four, Stefan took on a series of security jobs to support his family, which included security jobs at Formosa as well as the Mitchell Guidance Center.
"Pierre was an awesome guy," said Guadalupe C. Zapata Jr., Stefan's former boss. "I have nothing bad to say about him."
As of late, family members said Stefan had been discussing plans to return to college and pursue a new career.
Although he was often busy with work, family members said Stefan always found time to spend with family and have some fun.
"We were like two peas in a pod," said Stefan's cousin and best friend, Jeremiah Buckner, 33. "There was so much of a positive vibe between us that if he was sitting on his couch at home and the phone rang, he would know it was me calling. The same goes for when he called me."
A self-proclaimed "dominologist," Stefan liked to play dominoes and football in his spare time.
He was also a member of Greater Mt. Calvary Baptist Church.
Jeremiah said he and his cousin always shared a "If you go, I'll go mentality," meaning one would not do something without the other.
"We both went to the same high school, we were baptized together and even joined the church choir together," said Jeremiah. "We used to sing a duet called 'The Center of My Joy.'"
Stefan also shared a close relationship with his siblings.
"My brother was the center of my life," said Stefan's sister, Lisa Buckner, 44. He wasn't just my baby brother, he was my baby."
Jeremiah said it's hard to say goodbye to his best friend since birth.
"I get through it with help from him and the Lord," he said.
The rest of the family expressed similar sentiments.
"We are Christians. The Lord giveth and the Lord take it away," said Roy Buckner. "We're just passing through. This is not our home."
He continued, "Living by the word, enables us to go through this a little bit easier than a man who doesn't know God."