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Victoria native dies while helping another motorist

By Gheni_Platenburg
Oct. 6, 2010 at 5:06 a.m.

Ray Lara

A Victoria native was killed after being hit by a car Monday night on a U.S. Highway 59 feeder road in Fort Bend County.

Ray Lara, 24, was hit around 7:20 p.m. as he was attempting to re-enter his 1991 Chevrolet pickup that was parked on a southbound feeder road, a half-mile south of Grunwald Road and 2.2 miles south of Beasley.

Rubina Lara, Ray's sister, said her brother, along with his wife, his eldest son and his niece, were traveling south on their way home after a day of fishing when they stopped to help a woman whose vehicle had stopped along the side of the road.

"He stopped to see is she was OK," said Rubina Lara. "He was always trying to help people out."

After learning the woman was OK and she was just waiting on her husband to bring her gasoline, Ray Lara headed back to his truck, said his sister.

Department of Public Safety officials said before Ray Lara could make it back into the vehicle, East Bernard resident Jacqueline Kulhanek, who was traveling south in her 1999 Ford Mustang on the feeder road, struck Lara near the rear of the truck before striking the side of his vehicle.

Rubina Lara said her brother was thrown 69 feet.

None of the truck's other passengers were injured.

Lara was taken by helicopter to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, where he was pronounced dead at 8:20 p.m.

His body was taken to the Galveston County Medical Examiner's Office in Texas City.

DPS Trooper Devon Wiles said Kulhanek is expected to be charged with manslaughter.

Lara's family said they are trying to cope with losing Ray, who was known for his love of fishing and spending time with his family.

"I'm going to miss his laughter," said Rubina Lara. "He always tried to bring everyone together and was willing to do anything to help anyone."

Ray Lara lived in Victoria from birth through the eighth grade.

Shortly afterward, he and his family moved to Needville, where he graduated from high school.

Most recently, he lived in Damon with his wife and two sons and worked as a welder.

He left behind a host of relatives in the Victoria and Needville areas.

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