Man killed in Friday accident was homeless

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

Dec. 13, 2010 at 6:13 a.m.

Some Victoria homeless advocates think they may know a homeless man who died Friday in an auto-pedestrian accident.

Next of kin contacts listed for the man, who was in his late 50s, have been acquaintances, not family members, Senior Patrol Officer Herschel Buck said.

A name cannot be released until next of kin is notified.

Bob Redding, a Victoria real estate broker and chairman of the board at Christ's Kitchen, did not disclose who he thinks the man is, but said police approached him as next of kin, which he's not.

He is also not sure if the man had any relatives left.

"I was just heartbroken," Redding said. "I've been thinking about it all weekend."

The man spent time at the kitchen, he said.

Redding and other volunteers at the kitchen feel helpless because all they can do is provide food and prayer for the homeless, he said.

"It's very tragic when something like this happens," Redding said.

Redding feels particularly sorry for the driver, Jeanette Estrada, a 41-year-old Victoria resident.

Estrada is not responsible for the accident, Buck said.

Buck is still investigating why the man was crossing the road near the intersection of Laurent and Elizabeth streets.

He is also waiting for an autopsy report to see if alcohol or any other controlled substance played a role in his death. He said he is working on several other leads.

Many homeless people are dealing with substance abuse or mental health issues, said Doc Bartlett, Salvation Army program director.

A lot of homeless people refuse to go into the shelter, leaving them to their own devices.

The shelter houses about 28 people, he said.

"Chances are, I've crossed paths with him before," he said. "It's tough when you have someone wandering the streets."

The homeless are at the mercy of the elements and the people when on the street, he said.

"It's a sad state of affairs," Bartlett said.



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