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Crash kills a Middleborough High ex-coach, teacher

James Braga, 61, died in a car crash Saturday.

James Braga, 61, died in a car crash Saturday.

James Braga grew up in Middleborough, married his high school sweetheart, and devoted his life to working with children in the town.

But Braga, a Vietnam veteran and popular former teacher at Middleborough High School, was killed in a car accident on Saturday night in the town that he loved, authorities and his family said. He was 61.

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“This is a passionate man,” said his middle son, who is also named James, 36, in a telephone interview on Sunday. “He was a man that loved his town and [helping] kids.”

Officials released few details about Braga’s death on Sunday, and his family declined to discuss the accident because a police investigation remains active.

Braga was killed after the vehicle he was driving shortly after 9 p.m. on Saturday was struck by another automobile on Route 44 at Everett Street in Middleborough, Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz’s office said in a statement.

Braga was pronounced dead at the scene, and the other driver, an adult male, was treated and released at a Boston hospital, the statement said. His name, age, and hometown were not released.

No charges or citations had been filed as of Sunday, said Bridget Norton Middleton, a spokeswoman for Cruz. She declined to release more details about the accident, citing the open investigation.

‘My father loved the town, and the town loves him. That’s what’s coming out.’

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Middleborough and State Police referred questions to prosecutors.

The younger James Braga became emotional on Sunday when he described his father’s teaching and coaching career at Middleborough High.

He said Braga taught business at the school for two decades before retiring a few years ago and also coached the boy’s soccer team.

In addition, Braga helped start a local Catholic Youth Organization basketball league and ran a business competition program at the high school, his family said.

“My father loved the town, and the town loves him,” said Jonathan Braga, 29, the youngest of Braga’s three sons. “That’s what’s coming out.”

The siblings said many of Braga’s former students visited the family home on Sunday to offer condolences and thank his relatives for the role that he played in their lives.

One former student, Dan Darcy, 28, of Middleborough said Braga coached him in youth soccer and on the high school team. Darcy also took his class during his senior year.

“He was a big part of our lives, and just really good to all the kids,” Darcy said.

Braga earned the Globe’s Division 2 Coach of the Year award in 2003 but credited his players the following year in an interview.

“We’ve had some great players come through here,” he said at the time. “We’ve been very fortunate.”

David Paling, then Middleborough’s athletic director, praised Braga’s coaching style in the same article.

“I think Jim is respected for his soccer knowledge,” Paling said. “But I think it is his laid-back attitude that draws the youngsters to him and they respect him for it.”

Braga’s family said on Sunday that after retiring from teaching, he focused entirely on his mortgage consulting business.

In addition to his other two sons, he leaves his oldest son, Keith Braga, 41; his daughter-in-law, Tara Braga; his wife, Catherine, 61; and two grandchildren, Zachary MacAulay, 20, and Cody Braga, 16.

His family said that a date has not been set for a funeral Mass, which will be said at Sacred Heart Church of Middleborough, where Braga was a parishioner.

“This is one person that had no enemies,” his son James said. “I think that’s why this community is going to have a big struggle with this. Because there isn’t a single person that he didn’t help.”

Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.

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