Port Isabel woman dies after being hit by motorcyclist

PORT ISABEL — Elizabeth Sweeten could often be seen walking around town.

Most known as the former journalist with the Port Isabel Press, Sweeten loved the area and worked at Dirty Al’s in the main office.

On Sunday night, she made her regular trek to the nearby convenience store on foot. It was a store she had gone to for years.

But this time she never made it home.

“I cannot believe what happened,” said George Higginbotham, Dirty Al’s manager and Sweeten’s friend. “She lived north of that Stripes and always went to that store to buy soda, cigarettes or whatever.”

Sweeten, 66, was struck by a motorcyclist who was speeding in the emergency lane of the city’s main road, police said.

The biker, Ronnie Huerta, 33, of Mercedes, is currently hospitalized with serious injuries to his back, pelvis and leg after crashing following striking Sweeten.

Police said Huerta was still unconscious as of Monday.

No charges have yet been filed against Huerta, but he tested positive for alcohol and marijuana in his system at the time of the crash, according to police.

Huerta was on his way back from South Padre Island on his high speed and high performance motorcycle.

Earlier in the day, he is seen with friends and family on Facebook enjoying his time on the Island and at the weekend car show.

On Facebook, many people are praying for Huerta and hoping he can recover from his injuries.

Port Isabel police spotted Huerta speeding on his bike coming off the Queen Isabella Memorial Causeway heading into Port Isabel on Sunday night.

Police released limited information about the accident or how fast Huerta was traveling.

The accident happened at 7:30 p.m. on the 100 block of W. Queen Isabella Boulevard near the intersection of North Musina Street.

Police Chief Robert Lopez said Sweeten, had walked across the busy street and was near the sidewalk when she was hit by the speeding motorcycle.

Huerta’s bike was cleared from the scene broken and trashed.

The front wheel and handle bars were completely stripped from the bike.

“It’s just a shock,” said Betty Wells, Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce president and Sweeten’s friend, of her death. “You’re just never prepared for this.”

She said Sweeten walked to work and home every day.

“She just liked walking,” Wells said.

Wells said she worked with Sweeten for the local Port Isabel Press as reporters years ago. It was there the two became friends.

“She was one of the most intelligent women I have ever met,” Wells said.

Sweeten’s place of employment, Dirty Al’s along with the Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce are working together to find any of Sweeten’s family members.