The California Highway Patrol is investigating the crash on Friant road at Millerton, but they've already ruled out alcohol and drugs as explanations for the accident.
Norman Jones Tes was a regular 26-year-old man in a lot of ways. He worked at a pho restaurant, lived with his Cambodian family, and helped take care of his parents. But as the baby of the family and the first one born in the U.S., he also stood out. That's what his family will remember.
Chanting monks will be a constant companion for the Tes family over the next several days. In Buddhist tradition, the sung verses will carry the spirit of Norman Jones Tes to a better place.
That journey began late Tuesday night when Tes and his parents were headed to Table Mountain casino. As his brother told us, they never made it.
"Other car come down and hit the car in the rear door," said Chuon Tes. "If he hit the front door, my father pass away."
The crushed back seat of his family's Honda shows the spot where a drifting driver coming down Friant Road smashed into their car.
California Highway Patrol investigators marked the area of impact and searched for an explanation.
"Thinking of that area, there's a slight bend or curve in the road as it comes down," said CHP officer Axel Reyes. "It appears the subject had run off the road and then come back and overcorrected."
Investigators say the 18-year-old driver who hit the Tes family showed no signs of using alcohol or drugs and he wasn't speeding by much if any. But his mistake eventually damaged four cars in a chain reaction accident.
Paramedics took three people to the hospital, including Tes's parents. There was nothing they could do for the 26-year-old in the back seat, leaving his parents, and his older brothers and sisters to grieve.
"I don't sleep at all because I'm mourning my brother," said Chuon Tes. "I love my brother so much."
The family played recorded monks until they could bring their own monk to the house Wednesday night. He'll be chanting the comforting verses for the next four days until the funeral on Sunday.