FREMONT (KPIX 5) — Friends of a South Bay high school football player killed in a wrong-way crash by a suspected drunk driver on Highway 17 remembered him lovingly on Sunday.
16-year-old Armando Canales was riding in a Toyota Corolla with four other people early Saturday morning when a minivan crashed into them head-on.
The California Highway Patrol said 28-year-old Ashley Marie Oliver was in the southbound lanes of Highway 17 going the wrong way before she passed a patrol unit. The patrol car turned around as fast as it could, but it was too late.
Canales was in the left rear seat and died at the scene. He was not wearing a seat belt, the CHP said. The other teens suffered moderate to serious injuries.
Oliver went to the hospital to be treated for a leg injury before being booked into Santa Clara County Jail on charges of felony DUI and vehicular manslaughter.
Canales was raised by a single mom. His friends came together on Sunday–Mother’s Day–to deliver flowers to his grieving mother Tina Cachlhas, who did not want to speak on camera.
“She was in a very bad state. She was crying. She told me that he would be very happy that you were here. And I was telling her, ‘I’m here for you. You’re like a second mother to me.’ And she was just very happy that she saw me and I told her, ‘Anytime,'” said Qais Anwari, a friend.
Canales played defensive end and sometimes running back on the Washington High Huskies junior varsity football team in Fremont, where he was a popular junior.
A GoFundMe page is closing in on its $10,000 goal to help pay for his funeral.
“He had everything ahead of him. He had so much to go for. And somebody just drank and wanted to go out and drove the wrong way and got into an accident. I hope people can learn from it,” said Zachary Mustapha, another friend.
“He was such a likable guy because he just stood up for everybody. He stood up for what he believed in,” said Ulrich Banzon.
Canales’s friend Julio Valdez said that the two planned to become firefighters together upon their graduation in 2020.
“We laughed, we joked, we argued. He’s like a brother. Every day, we would just be brothers. No matter what, thick and thin we went through it together. I love you,” said Valdez through tears.
There is a candlelight vigil planned at Washington High School’s flagpole on Monday at 8 p.m. and a remembrance event on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Shakers Pizza located at 4075 Thornton Ave. in Fremont.