Diboll woman dies in Louisiana crash

Photo courtesy of TLL Temple Memorial Library.
Photo courtesy of TLL Temple Memorial Library.
Esteves family photo
Esteves family photo

DIBOLL, TX (KTRE) - A two-vehicle crash in Beauregard Parish has resulted in the death of a Diboll woman, who was a leader in the Hispanic community.

State troopers say a car driven by 62-year-old Julia Esteves, of Diboll, was traveling on Louisiana Highway 26 when her vehicle crossed the center line and sideswiped a tractor-trailer rig.

Esteves was taken to a Lake Charles hospital following Friday's accident. Troopers say she died early Saturday.

The truck driver was not injured.

Esteves volunteered with TLL Temple Library and Lufkin Goodwill every year in working as an interpreter to Spanish-speaking people who needed help with their taxes.

"She had no idea she had touched so many lives," said Meli Enriquez, Esteves' daughter.

"People I don't even recognize come up and say we're sorry to hear what happened," said Eddie Esteves, her son.

To those that knew her best, she was a woman committed to serving others.

"I felt like we could just call her anytime we needed her," said Mary Howell, the circulation manager at Temple Library.

"It was always Julia and her husband that stepped up to the plate and interpreted for us," said Phyllis Handsaker of Good will.

Not only did she help overcome language barriers, she spent nearly 30 years working as an aid for Diboll ISD.

"She did a lot for this community," Howell said. "There was always a smile on her face. She was always just a nice, nice lady."

"My mom was such a giving person and she gave because that's who she was and not for any kind of recognition," Enriquez said.

Although she did receive some recognition last January for her skills in the kitchen.

Her black bean soup won the soup or sop contest at the library.

"She was so surprised because she had never won anything in her life," Howell said.

"She was so excited that she won that," Esteves said. "She'd never won anything before."

She even had a soup ready for next year's contest.

But, now she leaves behind more than her award-winning recipe not only for her grandchildren, but for the community.

"It will be a void and she will be missed by all of us," Handsaker said.

"We feel that we were privileged to have her in our lives and that right now our hearts are broken and that we loved having her and that we will miss her dearly," Enriquez said.

Copyright 2011 KTRE. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.