01/19/07 — Prominent surgeon dies in car crash

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Prominent surgeon dies in car crash

By Lee Williams
Published in News on January 19, 2007 1:56 PM

Funny. Smart. A doctor who would go out of his way to care for others no matter what their financial standing.

Those are the words family, friends and co-workers used to reflect on the life of Dr. Jose Julio Guijarro Jr., a 50-year-old Goldsboro resident, who was killed Thursday in a one-vehicle accident in Nash County.

Dr. Guijarro, a general, vascular and chest surgeon at Eastern Carolina Surgical Associates in Goldsboro, was on his way to WakeMed Cary Hospital in Raleigh at the time of the crash, highway patrol officials said.

"He was on U.S. 264 traveling west outside of Middlesex near Children's Home Road," Highway Patrol Master Trooper K.B. Heath said. "He lost control of his vehicle and slid off the road on the left. He continued through a median and struck a tree."

Guijarro died at the scene.

Troopers say speed coupled with slick roads caused by freezing rain that blanketed the area played a factor in the accident that occurred about 7:40 a.m.

Heath said Guijarro, the driver of a 1985 Toyota pickup, was traveling at 60 mph in a 70 mph zone, which was considered too fast for the slick road conditions. He urged other drivers to adjust their speed considerably during inclement weather.

"Any time there's adverse conditions, whether it's ice, rain or wind, people need to slow down," Heath said. "Just because the speed limit is 70 doesn't mean you have to drive it."

Guijarro had privileges at Wayne Memorial Hospital for the past 17 years, said Amy Cain, hospital spokeswoman.

The news of his death rocked the hospital staff at Wayne Memorial, his family and friends.

"He was a very well-respected surgeon, known for being very good and very passionate," Ms. Cain said. "His death is a tragic loss for the hospital as well as the community. When somebody's been here for 17 years -- it's been very difficult for the staff."

Guijarro's fellow doctors at Eastern Carolina Surgical Associates on McLamb Place including Dr. Gilbert Garcia, Guijarro's brother-in-law, were also devastated by the news.

Garcia said Guijarro, an Oklahoma native, was not only a trusted colleague, but more importantly, a friend. Garcia said Guijarro came to Goldsboro in 1989 and together they formed the Eastern Carolina Surgical Associates. Before Guijarro's death, five doctors total including Garcia, Guijarro, Dr. Douglas Russell, Dr. H.N. Krishna Prasad and Dr. Leon Stockton, worked at the practice.

Garcia called Guijarro's death a great loss to the community and added he will be missed.

"He was very intelligent. He had a good sense of humor. He loved his family, and he was very devoted to his patients," Garcia said Thursday when reached at home.

Guijarro followed in his father's footsteps when he became a doctor, Garcia said.

Garcia added Guijarro was "gifted as a surgeon and as a physician." He would always go beyond the call of duty to help a patient, Garcia said.

"He was a great humanitarian. He took care of everyone, regardless of their financial status. He treated everybody the same. He was a super guy, and we're going to miss him."