Brownsville, TX – Bishop Police Officer Pedro Vela died on May 20, after he was injured in a hit-and-run accident while riding his motorcycle the day prior.
Officer Vela, 24, was off duty, traveling to visit friends on May 19 at approximately 4:18 p.m., The Brownsville Herald reported.
As he rode along Boca Chica Boulevard, the driver of an early 2000s-model F150 extended cab pickup braked in front of him, a witness told police.
Officer Vela collided with the back of the pickup, and the impact launched him over the truck.
As the witness stopped to assist the officer, the driver of the pickup fled the scene.
Officer Vela was a proud member of the Blue Knights Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, KRIS reported.
According to a post on the club’s Facebook page, the crash left Officer Vela with “facial fractures, a ruptured artery in his abdomen, a broken hip and [a broken] leg.”
He was rushed to a local hospital in critical condition and succumbed to his injuries on May 20.
Brownsville police were continuing their search for the driver who fled the scene.
“Yesterday evening we learned Brownsville Blue Knights Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club Texas2 member Pedro Vela [Little Tank] was involved in a vehicle collision,” Blue Knights Texas said in a subsequent Facebook post. “Sadly, he passed away at 9:15 AM today. Please keep his family and Texas II in your thoughts and prayers.”
Bishop Police Chief Billy Durbin said that that Officer Vela was a “tremendous asset” to the six-member, closely-knit department, according to KIII.
"He was a valued friend, colleague, and employee,” Chief Durbin explained. “He's practically a family member to myself and many of the officers here."
He said that he and another Bishop officer immediately drove to Brownsville when they learned about the collision. A Bishop police lieutenant was with Officer Vela in his final moments, the chief said.
"This is kind of new to me," Chief Durbin explained. "I have never experienced this kind of loss in my law enforcement career."
A fundraising account was established to help Officer Vela’s family in the wake of their unexpected loss.
“Pedro, sometimes known as Peter, leaves behind an amazing family and friends that were by his side throughout all of this tragedy,” the page read. “He is sorely missed and forever will be an angel as well as a hero to everyone that knows him.”
Officer Vela was laid to rest on Saturday, KIII reported.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Bishop Police Officer Pedro Vela, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.