Families, Friends Gather on Park Street to Honor Accident Victims

Photos by Dennis Evanosky      A vigil on May 31 at Park Street and Webb Avenue recalled the Memorial Day accident that took the lives of Briana Ortega and Simon Sotelo: A young woman mourns at the candles placed on Webb Avenue, where the truck carrying Ortege and Sotelo came to rest


Briana Ortega and Simon Sotelo’s families and friends held a candlelight vigil on Wednesday, May 31, at the scene of the accident that took Ortega and Sotolo’s lives  (“Rollover Accident Mars Memorial Day,” June 1).  

Ortega was 17 years old and a senior at Decoto School for Independent Study in Union City. 
Sotelo, was a passenger in the truck with Ortega. He was also 17; he attended James Logan High School, also in Union City. 

Ortega and Silva were killed when the truck they were riding in clipped a minivan at Lincoln Avenue. The impact caused the truck to careen out of control. Witnesses said the the truck rolled over several times and came to a rest at Webb Avenue, the site of the vigil. 

The accident crushed the roof of the truck. Firefighters had to cut the roof off the truck with the Jaws of Life. Ortega was pronounced dead at the scene. Sotelo passed away at Highland Hospital. Five other passengers in the truck and the minivan driver remain hospitalized. 


Photos by Dennis Evanosky      A Native American family friend cleanses Briana Ortega’s mother, Monica Christman, with a ceremony known as smudging.