Ray Galindo Modesto California man leaving AA meeting hit and killed by Braxton Howze drunk driver. Victim had been sober the last few years.
Killed by the very thing he was trying to heal himself from.
According to Modesto police, Ray Galindo, 58, was sitting on the tailgate of his truck in the parking lot outside of Living Sober Fellowship, talking to a new member on April 23, when Braxton Howze, 22, allegedly swerved off the road and struck him.
As he lay on the ground, one of his fellow meeting attendees ‘held his hand’ to show their respect, Galindo’s friend, Dee Gisler told the Modesto Bee.
The father of three sons was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. Galindo’s death follows him having remained sober over the last years.
‘All of us members in AA have done the exact same thing this man has done,’
Police said Howze was driving on a suspended license from a previous DUI charge and allegedly walked away from the scene, only to be arrested nearby.
He is now being held on a $1 million bond, and faces several charges, including hit and run, driving under the influence, hit and run with injury, gross vehicular manslaughter and driving on a suspended license.
He is due back in court on May 11, KOVR reported.
‘All of us members in AA have done the exact same thing this man has done,’ Sheila Butler, a friend of Galindo’s, told the Modesto Bee.
Adding, ‘so we have sympathy for him.’
‘We are all in the same rooms [at the meetings] and we are striving to stay clean and sober,’ she added. ‘This man made a bad decision and it had a very bad outcome.’
Galindo had started attending AA meetings about 15 years ago, when he and his ex-wife, Josie Garcia, were going through a divorce.
Painful ironic death
She said he has struggled with sobriety over the years, but would always go back to AA. He made amends with her and their adult sons, Ray Galindo Jr. and Thomas Galindo, before his death, she said.
‘He has come in and out of the program several times,’ one of the AA leaders, who is just referred to as Mark G., told CBS Sacramento, ‘but it seemed like this time he was on his way.’
‘What an irony of life to come here and try to be sober, try to be a better person, and then you go out by one of us technically,’ the AA leader reiterated.
Galindo became an active member of the AA group, leading some of the committees. In his free time, he also coached several softball teams, and enjoyed taking his 9-year-old son, Elijah, to a local ranch to ride horses, or on AA-sponsored camping and fishing events.
‘Ray didn’t have much, but what he had he gave freely and was blessed to do so,‘ said Dee Dee Leslie, Elijah’s mother said. ‘Every time you asked him how he was doing it was always the same: ‘I am blessed.’
Galindo is remembered as ‘a standup guy who always wanted to lend a hand,’ Mark G. said.
‘When I first got into sobriety, if I needed food or help or a hug, ray was the go-to-guy,’ Butler said. ‘He’s helped many young people come into the room [for meetings]. He’s bought them tennis shoes, clothes, whatever they needed.’
Ironically, Galindo was not scheduled to be at an AA meeting the night he died, but had attended to welcome a new member.