Remembering Tony Diaz: Tony's Aunt Sandra speaks with FOX 7
AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Sandra Riley is Tony Diaz's aunt. She says when her nephew moved to Austin they connected. "We just really clicked, we were a lot the same. He was very reserved and introspective and interested in important questions of life like 'Why are we here?' 'What's the right thing for me to do?'" Riley said.
Tony and Sandra were actually roommates for a couple of years. "He was a great roommate, he was wonderful and helpful and quiet and he could cook good things to eat," Riley said.
After finishing a shift at the FOX 7 studio in downtown Austin, Tony hopped on his bike Monday night.
UT Police say he was riding northbound on San Jacinto near 23rd Street.
A Capital Metro bus, also going north, was behind Tony when the two collided.
He was trapped underneath. Just 39-years-old, Tony died at the scene.
A detective from UTPD came to Riley's door. "I just sat there and said 'How could that possibly be?' It's mind-altering and even now when I drive I'm more careful," Riley said.
To us here at FOX 7, Tony was a great guy.
"One day he got up the courage to try working at FOX," Riley said. Since 2012, Tony has been one of the many good people behind the scenes who make the newscasts possible. "He had learned a lot about sound and lighting and equipment and that type of thing when he was in the Navy. He was in the Navy for 4 years," Riley said.
With a smile on his face and a headset on his head, Tony would floor-direct the weekend shows. "He loved challenges and appreciated the opportunity to do something he enjoyed doing," Riley said.
Sandra says she visited him at the station. She says he enjoyed being the man behind the camera.
Those of us who worked with Tony knew him as a patient, calming force in a fast-paced environment. "It was just his personality that he didn't get upset over small things he just could ride with the flow," Riley said. Outside of work he loved bicycles. In fact, Sandra says he built one from scratch.
"He was very interested in exercise and health and running, oh he loved to jog. He would run for like 10 miles or something at a time like it was nothing," she said.
This week, Sandra has had the tough responsibility of bringing Tony's things from his apartment including pictures of his time in the military, of his friends and family including the foster parents who raised him into the man he became.
As for the investigation into how Tony's life was cut so tragically short, Sandra says it's important to get those answers. "Of course yeah from what I've heard it doesn't sound like just an ordinary accident. Sounds like there was more that was happening," Riley said.
UT surveillance cameras and Capital Metro dash cameras did capture the crash. But there are still many questions...so if you saw this incident or if you were on that bus, UT Police are asking for you to call them: 512-471-4441 ext. #9.
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