UPS driver dies day after turning 24; family warns other delivery workers of heatstroke concerns

On average, over 600 people die from complications related to extreme heat each year in the United States.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2022
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A Southern California family is mourning their son, a UPS driver, who died just a day after his 24th birthday possibly due to heat stroke.

LOS ANGELES -- The family of a UPS driver in Southern California believes he died from heatstroke after finishing his last delivery just a day after turning 24 years old.

Esteban Chavez Jr., of Downey, a city in Los Angeles County, was delivering packages in the Pasadena area on Saturday, June 25, when he collapsed.

Records show Pasadena hit temperatures in the upper 90s on that day.

According to the family, Esteban apparently passed out in his truck in the early afternoon.

They said there was at least a 20-minute gap before someone noticed and called for help.

"It hurts, it's a pain that's never gonna go away. And that's something I wish on nobody, having the experience to lose your child," said his father, Esteban Chavez Sr.

The coroner's office is still working to determine the official cause of Esteban's death.

But his family believes it's linked to dehydration.

"I'm thinking it's heatstroke, but that's just me," said Esteban's aunt, Gloria Chavez.

"If this could bring awareness to his line of work, to the other drivers out there, just making sure you're staying hydrated," Chavez Sr. said.

Chavez Sr. said his son had just turned 24 the day before and it was his second day back to work after recovering from a shoulder injury.

"Everytime I seen my son walk into a room, I was like 'That's my son!' I was so happy to show my son off," said Chavez Sr.

Esteban - who also went by "Stevie" or "Lil' Stevie" - had been working for UPS for four years.

His family said he loved his job, and that he hoped to stay and grow with the company.

"He was determined to keep going and keep growing into becoming more than a driver, maybe a supervisor one day he said," said Gloria Chavez.

Esteban was also a dedicated Lakers and Dodgers fan.

One of the highlights of his job, his father said, was delivering a package once to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts' home and snagging a selfie with him.

"This is all so sudden," said Chavez Sr. "It hurts a lot. But I like to think God had a calling for him. They say the good die young. I'm sure my son was one of them."

UPS issued the following statement:

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of our driver Esteban Chavez, and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends. We are cooperating with the investigating authorities and are respectfully deferring questions about this incident to them."

Identifying Heatstroke

On average, over 600 people die from complications related to extreme heat each year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Heatstroke is the most severe heat-related illness.

Before someone has a heatstroke, they get overheated and experience heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion is more common during and after long periods of exercise. Symptoms include heavy sweating, dizziness, fatigue and cool, moist skin with goosebumps.

If you see the symptoms of heat exhaustion, get out of the heat and cool off immediately before it can escalate to a heatstroke. Mist your body with water, treat hot areas with ice packs and drink plenty of water.

If a person's body temperature rises above 104 degrees Fahrenheit, the result is heatstroke. When a person has heatstroke, they are no longer sweating, but their skin is flushed. Other symptoms of a heatstroke include an altered mental state, a racing heart rate and vomiting.

If someone experiences heatstroke, seek emergency treatment. Without it, the brain, heart, kidneys and muscles can be damaged, and it can lead to death.