Days after his death, killed Fresno City College student's brother accepts his diploma

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Less than a week after his death, friends and family gathered Friday to remember 22-year-old Carlos Aguilar at the Fresno City College graduation. Family members say he died after losing control of his truck early Sunday morning near Downtown Fresno.

Aguilar was always smiling, family members said Friday night.

"If he didn't have a smile on his face, he was probably making faces at you. He had a huge smile, a beautiful smile. My brother is just out of this world," said Evelyn Aguilar, Carlos' older sister.

And if he wasn't smiling, he was laughing.

"He had this really obnoxious laugh that just made people happy to hear it," said Gabriel Aguilar-Duenas, Carlos' brother. "He was always smiling."

Last Sunday, Aguilar-Duenas woke up to the terrible news that'd he never hear that contagious laugh again.

"I became a mess," he said. "It's pretty awful. That was my best friend, he was a huge part of my life, and now very suddenly very unexpectedly he was not there anymore."

Earlier that morning, Aguilar-Duenas says his brother was on his way to a friend's house, when somehow he lost control of his truck on the Golden State access road underneath the Highway 41 overpass. The site of the crash isn't far from Selland Arena.

Friday night, dozens of friends and family members showed up to Fresno City College's graduation, where Carlos was going to receive his diploma. This week, they asked school officials if Carlos could be honored with a diploma.

"This is extremely unusual but we felt at Fresno City College that this is something we should do, it was the right thing to do to honor him and his family," said Fresno City College Vice President of Student Services Christopher Villa.

So Friday night, Carlos' younger stepbrother Edward walked the stage in his place with pride. Friends and family couldn't have been more proud of Carlos -- for all he's done, and for all he was going to do.

"We lost him way too soon; he was going to do big things," Aguilar-Duenas said.

Friends and family will never know all those things, but one thing is for sure: the life of Carlos Aguilar will not be forgotten.

"He lived every moment like it would have been his last, that's for sure," said Maria Aguilar, Carlos' sister.

ABC30 Action News has yet to obtain an official accident report from the responding agency.

Family members are hosting an event Saturday to help with burial expenses. They've also set up a GoFundMe account.
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