A 60-year-old pastor and his wife died last Tuesday when they were mowed down inside their car by a speeding driver who ran a red light and fled the scene.
Jesse Estrada, 60, co-pastor of Iglesia Nuevo Amanecer Bautista, a Baptist Church in Cloverleaf, Texas, and his wife, Maria Sabillon, 68, had led the small congregation for more than 30 years, according to the Houston Chronicle.
The couple's son, Jesse Sabillon, 33, said authorities knocked on his door at 5 a.m. last Wednesday to deliver the news of their death.
"It happened minutes from home," said Sabillon as family members gathered at his home to mourn. "They were returning from a hospital visit. My cousin was giving birth, so they went to welcome the new family member."
Police say about 9:15 p.m. last Tuesday, the couple was traveling on Bammel North Houston Road where two vehicles were street racing on the Beltway feeder. When the racers approached the light, the driver of a possible Dodge Charger slammed on the brakes. The driver racing in a pickup truck, however, did not, and slammed into the couple's Mercedes.
Police believe Alexis De Larosa Sosa, 21, was driving the truck. He is now on the run. The driver of the Dodge Charger, stopped for a short time but sped off as well.
"I'm still in shock," Sabillon told ABC 13.
He said his parents had been married for more than 30 years and his father was well-known for his carpentry skills.
"My dad was a very great man, I will always keep that in my heart and memory as well as my mom, a very strong woman," he said. "City streets aren't meant to be raced in, that's why we have traffic lights and law enforcement and signs with speed limits."
Estrada's older sisters — Maria Estrada, 65, and Altagracia Brizuela, 72 — grieved over their brother's death.
They told the Chronicle their brother was quiet and calm as a child. He was born in Honduras as one of 11 children. His wife was one of five and was born in Mexico.
"To the person who caused the accident, I ask to God for justice," Maria Estrada said. "They were cowards to run and not accept what they did. I hope that one day they don't have to feel the suffering that we're feeling. We all know we're going to die, but not that way. I hope that some day they repent from the heart."
Jesse is now appealing to the suspects in the accident to turn themselves in.
"You know what you did. You know who you are. It's going to eat you alive, come and turn yourself in and make it right," he said in the ABC 13 report.
He explained to the Chronicle that his parents would also want him to forgive the drivers.
"(My parents) showed us how to respect and always forgive," Sabillon said. "They would want us to forgive the people that caused their death. We do forgive them, but obviously there is anger. We know that whatever comes next is not in our hands, it's whatever the letter of the law says."
The couple met at Trinity Church in north central Houston. At the time, Estrada was an up-and-coming pastor and Maria Sabillon was a member of the congregation, Oscar Menendez, 43, Maria's oldest son from a previous relationship told the Chronicle.
They married, said Menendez who recalls being a ring bearer at the wedding, after Jesse Estrada had "calmed her down."
"Never in her life would she have thought that she was going to marry a pastor because she liked dating this guy and that guy," Menendez said. "He said, 'You know what? Not with me. I'm too old for that.'"
The couple went on to have two children together — Jesse Sabillon, 33, and Allan Sabillon, 28. Menendez said he never saw Jesse Estrada as a stepfather.
"I never called him stepdad," Menendez said. "He accepted me as his son."
The Sabillon family is hoping to raise $20,000 to bury the couple via a GoFundMe campaign. They have raised just under half of the goal amount so far.
The family explained that Pastor Estrada owned a business called JJ and Son Remodeling with his sons while his wife was a retired home care giver for children with special needs.
"He never believed in a having a salary from the church," Menendez told the Chronicle. "He had a job which was JJ & Sons. He always put his tools on to do his job and feed his family. … He was always an example to follow."
Anyone with information on the accident or the suspects is being encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.