Friends remember Manteca teen killed by alleged distracted driver

MANTECA, Calif. - A Manteca teen killed by an alleged distracted driver early Saturday morning was identified as 14-year-old Zachariah Gomes.

Friends say the Manteca High School freshman was walking home with several teens after a bonfire when he was struck and killed.

"I was really sad. I really didn't believe it," said friend Priscila Guzman. "I think that's very irresponsible. That's not that important that somebody's life that just reach for a phone."

Ascari Johnson rode the bus with Zac every day last year. They were in the same math class.

"It's just crazy to lose a friend out of nowhere. Going to school Thursday and next day and find out on Instagram and Twitter. He's gone," said Ascari.

Friends say Zac was a fun-loving, positive guy who was in the Jr. Reserve Officers Training Corps.(ROTC).

He was among four teens who were struck as they were walking home early Saturday morning.

The CHP said the driver was distracted, looking for a cell phone, when she drifted off the road and hit the youngsters around 1:15 Saturday morning. Zac died in the collision.

Friends offered condolence messages on social media Sunday night for Zac's family.

A dozen friends gathered at Sequoia Park to remember Zac.

Adriana Castaneda says Zac was her best friend and Jr. ROTC brother. They went to the military ball together.

"Zac was great guy. This wasn't supposed to happen to him," said Adriana. "He's too young."

Those who gathered here say they lost a friend, but heaven has gained an amazing soldier.

"It's unfair, but god needs soldiers too and he's going to be one hell of a soldier," fellow Jr. ROTC member Kassie Watts said. "He'll be up there swinging that rifle on his left shoulder, marching right down with us."

Johnathan Loon and Stanzy Shepherd, fellow Manteca High School freshmen, were also injured in the collision.

A third teen sustained minor injuries and has since been taken out of the hospital.

Adriana talked to that teen Sunday about the collision.

"He said it was really quick and fast. It was hard. It felt like he fell, got up and everything was like a movie," said Adriana.

The CHP says the 19-year-old driver who hit the teens was not drinking or on drugs.

She has been identified as Mia Sara Aguiar. She faces a vehicular manslaughter charge and is currently in custody at San Joaquin County Jail on $100 thousand bail.


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