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Police investigate week's third traffic death

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - The Guam Police Department's Highway Patrol Division is investigating another traffic-related fatality. Police were called to the disturbing scene in Mangilao just before sunrise where this white Dodge Nitro struck a concrete utility pole head-on. The impact of the crash was strong enough that the pole split the hood of the vehicle in half; the front tires, engine parts and other debris were strewn throughout the parking lot of the Santa Teresita Catholic Church.

Guam Police Spokesperson Officer A.J. Balajadia said, "They look at the results of the autopsy, they look at the speedometer reading and whether or not this individual was wearing seatbelts or skid marks, the field of debris, witnesses, everything is taken into account and it can be quite time consuming." 

For about an hour the entire road was blocked off about a half a mile in both directions of the crash. Guam Fire Department officials had to use the Jaws of Life to get the driver out, identified as 50-year-old Ray Rojas. He was taken to the Guam Memorial Hospital as he was non-responsive at the scene. Rojas however didn't make it and was pronounced dead at 6:20am.

"We don't have any information on what this particular individual was doing out on the roadway at 5:30 in the morning," said Balajadia. "Possibly he was heading to work, but not until interviews are done will we know exactly."

While GPD's Highway Patrol Division continues its investigation, Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Aurelio Espinola confirms that Rojas died from a skull fracture and a crushed chest and pelvis. The news of his death saddened many at the Guam Community College, where he worked. "Everybody knew him, everybody loved him, he was really was a really happy jovial guy, all the students knew him and he was a really good athlete," said GCC's Jayne Flores.

Rojas was employed at GCC for the past 21 years. He was in charge of the school's bookstore. But it's his athletic skills, Flores mentioned, that some say they will remember about him the most. Rojas played with the PacSports Giants in the Guam Master's League for the past four years. He was a star baseball player who had a passion for the game, as he played first base as well as was an outfielder. Rojas was also known to be a good at golf.

Said Flores, "He won our golf tournament with his wife last September and this is just such a tragedy and we are just all in shock here today."

Aside from his athletic abilities, Flores says everyone at the campus will tell you that Rojas was great company. "People are really saddened, especially people who have really known him for a long time, he was just the nicest guy, just a very happy guy always had a smile on his face, he was just a really great guy one of those people you just like to be around," she said.

Rojas is survived by his wife Lina and their three children. Rosaries are scheduled to begin this evening at 6:45pm at the Santa Teresita Church in Mangilao.

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