Friends and family hold vigil for man killed in West Central Fresno DUI crash

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- People lit candles, held each other and shared memories of Carlos Ortega, a man whose life was cut too short.

"He was just a great warm and welcoming guy, always there to tell you a story and just make you laugh and make you feel welcome," said Tommy Esqueda, a family friend.

Tuesday night Ortega and his family almost made it home, but an impaired driver slammed into his car at an intersection in West Central Fresno, killing Ortega.

Police said 18-year-old Thomas De La Pena is the man responsible. Friends and family are now holding on to the memories of Ortega, the man they say was immensely loved.

"Always a great guy, really friendly, very welcoming, hardworking," said Esqueda.

"He is going to be missed and he was a great father and a great role model," said Martin Ventura, Ortegas' friend of 13 years.

Carlos left behind a wife and two children, a 16-year-old and a 5-year-old.

"A great man a loving father and just an all-around great guy, that put his family first before him," said his stepson Jayden Brown.

Ventura said the only thing he loved as much as his family was his car an Infiniti he named Victoria Rose

"He did love his car and his kids loved the cars too," said Ventura.

Even though this difficult time his family wants others to learn from their loss, they hope people don't drink and drive so that no one has to go through the same pain.

Carlos' 5-year-old son is at home, meanwhile, his wife Danielle is in the hospital with broken bones.

The family says she is expected to make a full recovery. Friends and family of Carlos will be holding a car met in his honor this Saturday at 8:30 pm at the Costco parking lot off of Blackstone.
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