Family members described Juan Rangel Martinez, 70, as streetwise -- a man with a slightly hunched back, in otherwise good health, who loved to walk the city and logged between 5 and 10 miles daily in his black Sketcher tennis shoes.
"He could out-walk any of us," said Daniel Castanon, one of Martinez's nephews. "We'd offer him rides and he'd say, 'No, I'm going to live longer if I walk.'"
Some of his relatives were watching the 6 a.m. newscast Tuesday when they heard reports of a pedestrian who was struck by a bus and died at the scene.
They saw video footage of a black shoe in the street, and a familiar black backpack that an officer picked up off the road.
A pair of his nieces headed downtown to Main Plaza, where they knew their uncle liked to drink coffee and read the paper.
"We went to look for him, but honestly, when I saw that shoe, I knew it was him," said Gloria Medina, a niece of Martinez's.
Hours later, police confirmed the news.
He was hit on San Saba Street, near Columbus Park. He was half a mile from Haven for Hope, where family members said he sometimes would stay because he hated to burden them, and 2.5 miles from his family's East Side home on Dakota Street that he would visit daily.
Fault has not been determined in the case, which remains under investigation by police and VIA Metropolitan Transit.
A day after the accident, the driver of the bus was identified in a police report as 43-year-old Vanessa L. Ramos.
Charlie Gonzalez, spokesman for VIA, said Ramos has been a driver there since 2002 and has no history of traffic accidents.
Ramos had a three-day weekend over Labor Day and started her shift at 4 a.m. Tuesday, Gonzalez said. It was a route she had just switched to during the last week of August.
The accident with Martinez happened at 5:39 a.m., he said.
"By our records, at this point, it appears she was running on time," Gonzalez said, responding to a question about whether the driver was behind schedule for the day.
When interviewed by police, Ramos told them she was headed east on West Martin Street in the left turn lane at the intersection.
"When she had a green light, she proceeded to make her left turn," to go north onto San Saba. She then "felt and heard something hit her vehicle; she thought it might have been a dog," the report states.
Ramos stopped the bus, got off, and saw she had hit a pedestrian.
She has remained on leave from work since the accident and will be evaluated by a counselor prior to her return.
Ramos declined comment through VIA, and citing the ongoing investigation, they could not comment on her behalf.
Police have declined to offer clarification on whether Martinez was in the crosswalk when he was struck or if he had the right of way, citing the ongoing investigation.
However, based on observations made at the intersection, the green light for traffic to travel along West Martin or turn onto San Saba, coincides with the cross walk sign indicating pedestrians have the right of way for the first 15 seconds.
After that, the crosswalk indicates pedestrians should not cross the road, while the green light and arrow remain for traffic traveling on West Martin.
This week, Martinez's family members bought him a new set of clothes for burial -- still not knowing whether his injuries would permit an open-casket funeral or when they would have the money needed to pay for his services.
"I hope that lady can't sleep or eat, the same way I feel right now," said Martinez's sister, Maria Medina, referring to Ramos, the driver of the bus. "She will never forget that day. I want her to understand, the pain I have right now, I want her to feel, and I'm angry. Yes, I'm angry -- I will never see him again."
Her chin quivered in anger as she spoke deliberately about the pain caused by her brother's death.