Son of prominent Fresno businessman killed in crash

FRESNO, Calif.

The accident happened at Herndon and Valentine around 1 a.m., when a 2002 Saturn left the roadway and crashed into a traffic light pole. The driver of the vehicle, 23 year old Brian Cappelluti of Madera faces a felony charge of driving under the influence.

"The statements from the driver and the passenger at the scene indicated they had been drinking prior to the collision," said Captain Andy Hall with the Fresno Police Department. Cappelluti suffered serious injuries in the crash. He was last listed in fair condition at Community Regional Medical Center.

Investigators say 23-year-old John "J.W." Pardini was riding in the passenger seat of the car and died at the scene. J.W. Pardini is the son of John Pardini, the owner of Grand Occasions Catering and Banquet Hall. News of his death spread quickly among his former classmates. "The one thing I remember about him especially is his smile. It was infectious. When he smiled, it made you want to smile," said Zach Manock, a childhood friend of the victim.

J.W. Pardini was also a triplet. Jenay Higginbotham attended school with his two sisters and knew his family. "They're nice girls and it's a really amazing family. I can't even begin to imagine what they're going through," said Higginbotham.

Another passenger, 22 year old Marion Walker of Madera suffered serious injuries. Throughout the day Monday, friends shared love and prayers on her Facebook page.

While the tragic accident has many in shock, others hope it will serve as a reminder of the dangers of drinking of driving among young people.

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