DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The walls of Waldemar Barrios’ home are covered with symbols of his children’s achievements.
Sports trophies, academic medals and certificates for perfect attendance all provided motivation for long, hard days at work.
“His kids were what kept him going,” said his sister-in-law, Jessica Vasquez. “He wanted his kids to go to college, be someone important in life, somebody who could help the community and give back to the community. It’s what he always spoke about.”
Barrios immigrated from Guatemala more than 20 years ago, working in road construction to support his immediate and extended family.
He was on the job Tuesday, when a driver crossed a median and struck him. His brother witnessed the crash and called home.
“He said ‘There’s been an accident. They killed him. They killed him’,” said Vasquez.
She and her husband rushed to the work site, where they found Barrios unconscious.
“We were telling him, ‘Get up, get up. You have three children… You have to come back to them’, and he just wouldn’t wake up,” she recalls.
Barrios was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The unidentified driver died Thursday from injuries related to crash, according to Dallas Police.
It is still unclear what caused him to lose control.
Working so close to traffic comes with risk, but Barrios’ family says drivers often aren’t thinking about the workers trying to improve the road.
“They’re there for a reason. They’re not there to annoy you and cause traffic,” said Vasquez. “They’re doing a service to our community that we’re not always thankful for.”
She’s hopeful her family’s story reminds drivers to slow down, be careful and respect others on the road.