Taunton man dies on I-495 after stopping to help car that struck a deer

Taunton man dies on I-495 after stopping to help car that struck a deer

RAYNHAM, Mass. — A Taunton man was hit and killed on Interstate 495 in Raynham after he stopped to help another driver who struck a deer in the road, and was hit by another vehicle, State Police said.

A 44-year-old Virginia man was traveling on the southbound side of 495 around 1 a.m. Friday when they hit a deer and their car was damaged, police said.

A man who was driving by stopped to help that person, and was fatally hit by another vehicle when he got out of his car, according to a preliminary investigation. He has been identified as 37-year-old Luis Contreras of Taunton.

Content Continues Below

Police said the driver who hit the man, a 21-year-old Rockland man, stayed at the scene and neither of the two other drivers involved was injured.

Those who knew Contreras say the young restaurant manager was building his business. They say while they're stunned by the loss, one thing that didn't surprise them was that he died the way he lived, being selfless.

"He passed away helping somebody, and that's the kind of person Luis was," said Mary Labonte.

Four years ago, the Boston Globe featured Contreras in a story about the family-run chain of restaurants owned by one of his relatives. A regular named Lynn Shaughnessy told us she was a big fan of Contreras.

"That kid was such a nice kid. He was so into this restaurant and so into his customers," she said.

She said he always put others first.

"He delivered Thanksgiving meals with me two years in a row to the elderly."

Boston 25 News reached out to restaurant workers for El Mariachi's in Wareham, South Easton and Taunton. All were too emotional for interviews.

State Police said the driver was not cited, but the investigation into the incident is ongoing.

The area near I-495 features a large population of deer and state officials said last month, at the start of deer mating season, that drivers should be extra alert as male deer are more likely to dart into traffic. Mating season lasts until about early December.