ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Historic rain caused damage and flooding around Dallas-Fort Worth and claimed one life over the weekend.
A UT Arlington student Alan Amaya was swept into a creek by flash flooding Friday night.
Amaya’s family says they believe he was on campus, probably headed to his dorm when he was swept into the creek on campus.
“He was funny, full of joy,” said Amaya’s cousin Sergio Amaya. “Always full of energy. Always wanted to play soccer.”
The light Alan Amaya’s family says he shared with others was extinguished over the weekend. The doctoral student drown Friday night in a creek on the west side of the UTA campus.
The university says flash flooding swept him into the creek just before midnight. Arlington Fire Department’s swift water rescue team found the 23-year-old nearly two hours later.
“You see floods happening all the time; it’s pretty common in the DFW area, but you don’t really truly see the impact that it can have, especially at such a close place near you,” said student Jason Prudencio who wanted to see the creek for himself.
Fellow students honored Amaya over the weekend, placing flowers at the bridge were he was last seen and coming by to pay their respects. They say the university warned them about the severe weather in a “stay in place” alert that went out at 1:16 a.m. Saturday.
Amaya was pursuing a Ph.D. in mathematics at UTA, where he was a graduate teaching assistant in the math department since 2017.
Amaya’s cousin, Sergio, was raised with him the same house in El Paso, and says they were more like brothers, only Amaya was like the older brother…despite being younger.
“He always helped me with my homework because he was pushing me to be better in school,” said Sergio. “He was like my guide.”
His family says he was two loves: soccer and his love for Jesus. He served as a youth minister in his hometown church.
“We had a promise, he and I,” said Sergio. “We were going to have five kids each and to make a team of (soccer) with the children. That was a childish promise but it was funny. That is something that I will remember, always.”
Amaya’s friend raised funds that will be used to return his body to El Paso where he will be buried.