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Friends of teen crash victims step up to help;Say they'll learn from tragedy that claimed four liv
Friends of the three Cibola High School students who died in a car accident Friday morning said they plan to learn from the tragedy that took their classmates.
One day after the accident, as many as 20 friends of the victims spent their Saturday outside Yuma stores to ask for the public's help in helping family members bury their loved ones.
"One of the families doesn't have a lot of money," said Luis Marquez, one of several Cibola students to stand outside of Fry's Food & Drug holding a can that displayed a picture of their 15-year-old friend who worked at a local McDonald's.
There were plans to either hold a car wash today somewhere on 4th Avenue or go back outside the local business. Other businesses they used included Wal-Mart, Food City and the Southgate Mall.
The accident happened just after 10 a.m. Friday when the vehicle the group was riding in rolled over and ejected several of the passengers while driving south on Avenue C, south of County 13th Street.
The initial investigation shows the driver of the 1992 Honda Accord lost control of the car and overcorrected, the Yuma County Sheriff's Office said.
The driver, Juan Lopez Ramirez, 19, a second Hispanic juvenile and a Hispanic female juvenile died at the scene. A third Hispanic male juvenile died at Yuma Regional Medical Center, YCSO said.
A second Hispanic female juvenile was transported to the YRMC, where she was listed in stable condition, the YCSO said. The names of the juveniles involved in the accident, who are all Cibola students, were not released pending the investigations.
Marquez, who said he wouldn't feel comfortable releasing the names of the friends he lost, said a large group of friends gathered Friday night to help comfort one of the families.
He said after learning of the accident, his classmates began to realize that life can be short.
"We should cherish the moments more," he said.
Marquez said the group of friends also began to think about what they could do to prevent such a tragedy from happening again, saying they way they drive was the first thing they began looking at.
"Everyone has been saying we should drive safer," Marquez said. "That's something we used to not worry about."
Yuma Union High School District officials told The Sun on Friday that grievance counselors would be provided to any students or faculty members wanting to talk about the deaths.
Marquez said it's a service he expects many of his classmates will use and said his friends were all very well-liked by both students and teachers.
"There isn't going to be anybody at school during the funerals," he said. "Nobody is going to want to be in school."
Louie Villalobos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6858.