OAKLAND, CA (September 24, 2013) — Jose Durante, the youth director of New Hope Covenant Church, was killed Saturday night when another vehicle struck him while he was helping a stranded motorist push his car off the road.
Durante, 39, was hit at 7:50 p.m. in the 2200 block of International Boulevard, near where the church meets for services.
Durante and several other members of the church had been on their way to a leadership appreciation event when they stopped to help the motorist. The fellow New Hope members who were assisting the motorist barely got out of the way.
Durante was closest to the traffic.
Several members of New Hope drove Durante to Highland County Hospital, where surgeons tried to save his life.
Friends’ websites noted Durante was on day 87 of a 90-day challenge to “‘put others first’ by doing what was asked of him without hesitating.”
On his staff biography Durante described himself: “I spent my childhood in Guatemala, seeing the effects of social injustice, including poverty and war. Coming to the U.S. in 1986, I experienced immigration firsthand and learned to empathize with those who are marginalized or underrepresented. After finishing college, I couldn’t stay away from church and the non-profit world. The latter brought me to work with the Mosaic Project, based here in Oakland, which teaches 4th and 5th graders the tools and skills to become peacemakers. When I’m not doing motivational speaking or church-related work, you can find me pondering how to have the most impact in people’s lives.”
After the collision, the driver who hit Durante fled on foot. He was later arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and driving under the influence of drugs. He still could face other charges, police said.
A memorial fund administered by the church has been set up to help family members with funeral expenses.