Jose loved life. He was proud of who he was, his roots and his family. He was a respectful and loving son, and he enjoyed having fun. He liked spending time with his family. He was willing to cancel going to the movies with his friends in order to stay home and play cards with his parents and his sister, or to help his sister with her math homework. Jose’s favorite sport was soccer. He always practiced and wherever he played, he drew admiration for his talent.
He was always a good student, an honor roll student. Six months before graduating from high school, Jose was already taking college credit classes; he was planning to study architecture, establish his own office and be an independent architect. He also belonged to the “Latinos en Acción” club, which consists of Latino students who wish to do community work.
Jose had many friends, Caucasians and Latinos. With some he went to soccer practice and games, and with others, he enjoyed dancing at family Mexican parties. At the same time, he was also able to listen and counsel a depressed friend for two hours because his girlfriend had left him, and another friend because she had family problems. Jose’s greatest characteristic was his big, warm, and sincere smile. He was the pride of his grandparents, uncles, cousins, and of course his parents and sister.
On Monday, January 3, 2011, we were visited by the principal and a police officer at our home. They explained to my husband and I that Jose, along with other students from his high school, were returning from a trip to the elementary school, where they were tutoring children who were behind in certain subjects. The elementary school was no more than five minutes away. There were six students in the pick-up truck returning to the high school. Two were in the front of the cab and four in the rear. Jose was traveling in the rear of the cab and since there were four in a space designed for three, they did not use seat belts. The driver lost control due to excessive speed, and according to the police report, Jose was thrown out the window and died instantly.
I remember thinking, “It’s not true, my son could not have died. He is full of life and energy and he has many plans and many dreams to fulfill. He has to graduate from high school, he has to go to college and become a great architect.” The whole family was in shock.
The death of my son has affected many people. His friends and family miss him deeply. This tragedy has completely changed the life of my daughter, my husband and myself. We fight day by day to continue on, despite our pain.
I hope that one day the youth will understand that automobiles are not toys, that they can learn how to use them responsibly, and that they will ALWAYS obey traffic safety laws.