Local

Pasco man has legs severed by train

Until early Wednesday morning, Anna Espinoza of Pasco hadn't spoken to her 32-year-old son Eddie in six months.

It wasn't a difficult choice for her, but one she made to protect her other children, now 7 and 10, from exposure to Eddie Mendoza's drug and alcohol abuse.

The circumstances of her reunion with Mendoza were even more difficult, because it came about when she heard he'd been found lying next to railroad tracks with both of his legs severely injured.

"It was very terrible circumstances," she told the Herald.

Pasco police didn't release Mendoza's name, but told the Herald on Wednesday that a Pasco man in his 30s had been found about 11:30 p.m. at North First Avenue and West Columbia Street, and it appeared he had been run over by a train.

Capt. Jim Raymond said police officers and an ambulance crew were called out to the tracks when railroad workers found the man.

Mendoza did not appear to be the victim of a crime, and the circumstances of how he came to be on the tracks are under investigation, Raymond said.

Mendoza was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for more surgery. Both his legs had to be amputated. On Wednesday afternoon, his mother was trying to find a way to join him there.

She's a single mother who works two part-time jobs -- one as a contractor delivering newspapers for the Herald and another cleaning houses -- and said she can't afford to take time away from either.

"All our family are pretty poor," she said. "We live paycheck to paycheck.I don't have nothing to go (to Seattle), no money."

Her sister from Portland is hoping to drive her to Seattle.

Espinoza said her son has struggled with drugs and alcohol since he was 12, and seemed to have gotten better in recent years.

He was interviewed for a Herald story in 2010 while participating in the New Life Program at the Tri-City Union Gospel Mission in Pasco.

"He was good for a year and then he relapsed," his mother said. "He went down pretty bad this time."

She made the choice to avoidcontact with her son after he relapsed, but said she had heard he didn't have a job or insurance, and she doesn't know how she'll pay for his care or her journey to Seattle.

"I really want to be with him," she said. "I want to be there when he wakes up and make sure he's OK."

Anyone wanting to help can donate to account 2388270 in Anna Espinoza's name at any HAPO Community Credit Union branch.

-- Michelle Dupler: 582-1543; mdupler@tricityherald.com

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