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Taylor family speaks out after sister hit and killed by drowsy driver in Rockdale

Posted at 6:42 PM, May 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-13 19:42:34-04

ROCKDALE, Texas (KRHD) — A Taylor family is speaking out about the dangers of drowsy driving after their sister was killed in November.

  • 23-year-old Janette Camacho from Taylor was hit and killed after the driver of a car fell asleep at the wheel.
  • About one in 250 fatal crashes are caused by drowsy driving, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • Now, Janette's family is warning drivers against drowsy driving.


"I say if you ever do feel tired, even if you're coming off work just in general, if you feel tired, just stay home. Pull over, take over, take a nap. You can save a life."

It's one message Esmeralda and Brenda Camacho never thought their family would have to share.

They're talking about the danger of tired driving after the death of their sister, Janette Camacho.

She was killed in November while walking along the sidewalk on West Cameron Avenue in Rockdale.

"Well, the day was my birthday, Nov. 3," Brenda said.

"She had a phone call she needed to take — we were all inside, didn't think nothing of it."

15 ABC spoke to Rockdale Police Department Captain Stephen Goodrich who says the driver left the road in this quiet community.

"She didn't see it coming," Esmeralda said.

"After the initial investigation with the officers on scene, they discovered that the driver did admittedly say that he was tired, he was sleepy and may have possibly fallen asleep," Goodrich said.

Drowsy driving causes about 1 in 250 fatal crashes.

"It's almost as bad as driving while intoxicated," he said.

The driver is now charged with negligent homicide.

"That doesn't give the answers we want to know — why didn't he just stay home if he was tired? Why did he have to drive?", Esmeralda said.

Now, the Camacho home is a bit quieter without Janette.

"She loved music, she loved making poems — she loved to cook, and she loved to bake," Esmeralda said.

It's small memories like these they'll share with Janette's three kids.

"We still managed to come together as a family, but our family will never be whole again," Esmeralda said.