'Our family is heartbroken:' Family remembers 11-year-old killed in Madera County crash

MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Outspoken, kind-hearted, and getting ready for middle school; that's how Esmeralda Preciado describes her nephew, 11-year-old Christian Lopez.

She and her family are now looking at their final memories with Lopez after they say the young Madera boy was one of the two people killed in a car crash Saturday.

"Nobody wants to go through this you know," Preciado said. "Our family is heartbroken."

Candles and mementos sit alongside Avenue 12 near Road 34 1 /2.

Preciado says her nephew and his mom, along with the driver and two other kids, were on the road heading home.

"They were being rewarded cause they all got good grades," she said. "They went to Skywalk and Blackbeard's and were on their way back. It was two friends I believe."

Officers then say, for some reason, the driver traveling the opposite direction, now identified as 17-year Troyce Requeno, drifted into the oncoming lane.

"There could be several reasons he crossed over the center line. We don't know at this time," said CHP officer Sgt. Lloyd Pratt. "We're going to try and determine that. (The) truth of the matter is, we may never know why he crossed the center line."

RELATED: 2 children killed in head-on crash on what neighbors say is dangerous roadway

Maria Balch was at the site of the crash, telling us she almost died while driving on this road. She says another driver hit her, sending her into oncoming traffic.

Balch says drivers are always speeding along this road, and she wants change before another life is lost.

"We can't always say a light is going to stop it or anything that can be preventative," she said. "We can say that we should be taking more action to try and be preventative. How many more deaths and car accidents do we have to have for them to see."

Family members say the young boy's mom is devastated and remains in critical condition at a Fresno hospital.

"It was hard to let her know her son wasn't here," said the victim's aunt, Consuelo Giron. "It was really hard."

An online fundraiser is set up for the victims, while two grieving families get ready to lay the young victims to rest.

At this point, authorities don't think speed was a factor. They don't think drugs or alcohol were a factor either, however they're waiting on toxicology results to rule out that possibility.
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