Midland Veteran Remembered

Midland Veteran Remembered

WARD COUNTY, TX (KWES) - A deadly crash in Ward County killed a Midland man. NewsWest 9 is told 86-year-old Willard Gaston swerved to avoid a tire on the road.

The accident happened on Interstate 20, about two miles east of Monahans just before 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Gaston ended up crossing the median and going into oncoming traffic, that's when he was t-boned by an SUV. The SUV rolled and caught fire.

Gaston was known as "The Old Tough Cowboy" by his family and friends described him was always looked at the bright side of things and always encouraged those around him.

Gaston's son Michael says, "Everyday he was always there to encourage me or other people, very few people in this world, twenty four seven are happy and very few people touch people's hearts the way he did. It was always a bright and shiny day for him."

The former first honored flight member and veteran of the Korean and Vietnam War and crossing guard at Burnett Elementary in Midland, always did what some couldn't and always made sure to check up on the ones he loved.

"Every night my phone rang. On church nights it was 7:00p.m. or 7:30 he would call me to let me know he's home. Nights that he didn't go to church 6:00p.m. or 6:30. I would know the phone is gonna ring, that's my dad," Michael said.

Those moments are the ones Michael and his wife Kristi say they are truly going to miss.

"I don't know what it's gonna be like now, I don't. I would love for my phone right now to ring, like it would be doing right now. I had one certain ring tone for him and I knew it was him.", said Michael

The other driver, 57-year-old Jaime Gonzalez of Arizona was pulled out of the burning SUV.

He was taken to the Ward County hospital in unknown condition.