Enrique Chavez takes comfort in the fact that his son will not be forgotten.
Former State Trooper Eduardo Chavez died in a car wreck while reporting to the scene of a drug bust on May 2, 2006. Now, seven years later, local state legislators have introduced a bill that would rename a 5-mile stretch of U.S. 83 that surrounds the area where he died, after Trooper Chavez.
“You can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a son,” Enrique Chavez said in Spanish. “It’s not easy…There is a phrase in the Army, ‘We do not forget.’ It’s very important to see that they aren’t forgetting him they are remembering him well.”
Chavez’s two other sons, Enrique Jr., whose friends call him Henry, and German, who also work with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Eduardo Chavez, 30, was heading west into StarrCountyto assist his brother Henry during a traffic stop on May 2, 2006. Eduardo Chavez’s tire blew and his vehicle rolled over several times. He was rushed to the hospital, but did not survive, according to a previous Monitor article. Henry arrested the two men he had stopped on drug charges.
State Rep. Sergio Muñoz Jr., D-Palmview, said Jose Rodriguez, the commander of DPS Region 3, approached him during the last legislative session about renaming part the road, starting at the Starr-Hidalgo line and heading five miles west. The other state representatives in the area Ryan Guillen,D-RioGrandeCity, Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and Bobby Guerra, D-Mission, are joint authors on the legislation.
“From our perspective it was very important. I think we can do something on our part to honor his service and do some remembrance for it also not only for him for his family,” Muñoz said. “This is one of the ways we felt we can memorialize his service and thank him for his commitment to state.”
The bill unanimously passed in committee, and it will go through its second reading on the house floor on Wednesday.
Richard Sanchez, Muñoz’s chief of staff, said he expects the bill to go through a third reading this week. It will likely pass and then go to the Texas Senate.
Muñoz estimates it will cost about $3,000 for the additional markers on the highway including one marking the spot where Chavez died.
At the time, Chavez was the 81st DPS officer died in the line of duty. Since 2006, seven more DPS officers have died while serving, according to information from the department.
“Trooper Chavez tragically died in the line of duty in 2006 protecting and servingTexas. He dedicated his adult life to law enforcement, was committed to protecting others and was devoted to his family,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “He served the Texas Department of Public Safety proudly, and his sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
Eduardo Chavez’s sister Monica said the community, and particularly DPS, has been supportive for the past seven years.
“It’s a beautiful tribute and my family is sincerely grateful to everyone including of course the commander who has shown who has shown so much support for us during these seven years stopping by my house to speak with my parents,” she said.
Monica Chavez, 28, described her brother, whom family and friends called Edward, as full of joy, compassion and energy; dedicated to his work and the life of the party. She said her brother’s legacy lives on his son, who was born a month after his father died. Eduardo Jr. is a “spitting image” of his father, she said.
Gail Burkhardt covered Mission, western Hidalgo County, Starr County and general assignments. This is her final story in the The Monitor.