Youth Director Killed While Helping Stranded Motorist

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.

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7 Comments

  1. My son who was a teen counselor at Mosaic last year from Berkeley High, was so sad to hear this. He had so many good things to say about Jose–he touched many young people’s lives in such a positive way. He will be remembered. We acknowledged him at our neighborhood block party last weekend and prayed for his family at our church.

  2. I met the Durante family about 20 years ago at the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity and learned so much from them—especially family unity grounded in God’s love. Jose and I often attended retreats and leadership training activities and the faith of all of his family deeply shaped me. In the midst of the shock and pain, Jose thank you and your family for your witness of faith!

  3. What a terrible tragedy!

    We are praying for the whole family during this time of lost.

    Sincerely in Christ,

    Eugenio and Pia Restrepo

  4. Oh my! How I grieve not only the death of one of our Covenant family members but I grieve that our world is still experiencing the effects of our fallen world. May our Lord cover his family with comfort and hope for recovering the life he has for them as they trust in his overcoming all things meant for evil.

  5. What a wonderful testimony in midst of the tragedy! Thank you for posting this. Praying for his family and the community.

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