Nathan Scott “Ragoo” Raulz, 18, of Conroe was pronounced dead on the scene of a two-vehicle accident that occurred around 5 p.m., according to Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Fitzpatrick.
Raulz was riding his motorcycle westbound on Stidham Road behind an SUV driven by 36-year-old Rita Cabello, when the SUV started to turn left at Bimbo Lane. Raulz “obviously did not realize the vehicle was turning,” Fitzpatrick said, and went into the left, oncoming, lane to pass the SUV.
When Raulz saw the vehicle was turning, his bike went into a skid as he laid it down, and it struck the back end of Cabello’s SUV, fatally injuring Raulz. Friends say Raulz purchased the bike just days ago to save money on gasoline, and did not yet have a license to operate it.
Trooper Fitzpatrick said no charges are pending against the driver of the SUV.
Adding to the tragedy, the first emergency responder on the scene was Central Montgomery County Fire-Rescue Chief John Farthing. In the hours following the crash, the station was inundated with calls for comment and information from news media, prompting Chief Farthing to issue the following statement:
“It is with deepest regret we announce the death of one our firefighters. Firefighter Nathan Scott “Ragoo” Raulz, 18, was killed in an accident that occurred in our district around 5 p.m. this afternoon.
Nathan has been a volunteer with Central Montgomery County Fire-Rescue (formerly River Plantation Fire Department) Station 171, for the past three years. He graduated from Conroe High School last Saturday night and worked his last shift at our station on Monday night. We nicknamed him “Ragoo” because no one could remember his last name at first.
He was the kind of kid any parent would want. He was responsible, respectful, good academically and willing to do anything he could to help anyone in need. He was always early for training and always stayed late to make sure everything was done when training was finished. He would even stop by the station and hangout when he was off-duty. Nathan had been at the station earlier today.
Nathan had enlisted in the US Army and planned to serve in Afghanistan, and then return home and go back to school to become an EMT and professional Firefighter.
There will not be another Nathan Raulz anytime soon.
Funeral arrangements are pending at this time. We plan to make sure he has the traditional and proper firefighter funeral he deserves.
Our entire department is devastated at this tremendous loss and we ask that the media accept this as our statement and allow us to grieve. “
Another member of the Central Montgomery County Fire-Rescue family, Firefighter/PIO Steve Polonski said Raulz was a “stellar junior firefighter.”
“One thing sticks in my mind,” Polonski said, “Around 11:30 one night, we were in the chief’s office getting ready to wrap it up and we saw movement on the camera. We thought everybody was gone, but (Raulz) was behind a pumper doing gear drills and timing himself.”
Polonski said Raulz was a JROTC officer in high school and joined the Army through early enlistment, planning to return to Texas, attend college on the GI Bil,l and get a Fire Science degree at Texas A&M.
Unlike many junior firefighters, Raulz did not come from a family of them. Polonski said shortly after Raulz got his driver’s license at the age of 16, he stopped to help a lady with car trouble on the side of the road. She asked Raulz if he was a firefighter and when he told her ‘no,’ she explained that she was asking because according to her, “firefighters were usually the only ones who would stop to help someone anymore.” That made Raulz think, Polonski said, and when he signed up to join the junior firefighter program, he was carrying a letter of recommendation from the lady he helped on the roadside.
“Anytime we needed an extra set of hands, he was there,” Polonski said. “He stood out head and shoulders above the rest.”
“We stood behind his decision to enlist, but God, we wanted to keep him.”
Raulz would have turned 19 in December.
Funeral arrangements will be posted as soon as the information becomes available.