18-year-old Army Reservist killed in Los Banos hit and run crash

March 18, 2013 

LOS BANOS -- An 18-year-old Army reservist was killed in a hit-and-run crash over the weekend after a truck struck his motorized scooter, police said Monday.

Cmdr. Ray Reyna Jr. said Fernando Buenrostro died at a Modesto hospital Sunday after suffering major head injuries from the crash Saturday night.

Police were called to Cardinal Street and Fairmont Drive at 7:41 p.m. When authorities arrived, they found Buenrostro lying on the ground. Buenrostro was flown to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. He died the next morning.

Witnesses told police the truck that hit Buenrostro was a white Chevrolet or Ford. No license plate number was released by authorities.

"Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of the victim," Reyna said. "Someone in our community knows who was responsible for this collision and we are asking that they do the right thing and come forward."

Buenrostro's father, Fernando Buenrostro Sr., said he doesn't believe the person who hit his son attempted to stop. "He was out with his friends at the park and a truck just came out of nowhere and hit him. There were no skid marks at all," he said.

Fernando Buenrostro Sr. said his son had only recently moved away from home. "He had barely been a week out on his own," Buenrostro's father said. "He said he wanted to move out and take that step to be grown."

Fernando Buenrostro Jr. graduated from Los Banos High School last year and entered the National Guard.

His uncle is a veteran and Buenrostro wanted to follow in his footsteps, the victim's father said. He described his son as a quiet and shy person.

Lupe Castillo, a relative of the victim, said the family is in a state of shock. He said he felt close to his young relative.

"He was almost like everybody's son. He was the firstborn grandchild, so basically we treated him like he was the first son in the whole family," Castillo said.

He said Buenrostro was an inquisitive person -- one of the traits that led him to join the National Guard.

"He was kind of looking for his niche in life, and he had kind of found it. That's what hurts the most. He had just started his life as a young adult," Castillo said.

Fernando Buenrostro Sr. said his son has many friends in town who are grieving. He hopes they don't hesitate to stop by his home if they need to talk.

The elder Buenrostro said he's seeking justice for his son, and hopes the culprit is found. "I just want to find the person responsible. I just want closure," he said.

Anyone with information should call police at (209) 827-7070. Tips are confidential and callers can remain anonymous.

Enterprise reporter Corey Pride can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or cpride@losbanosenterprise.com.

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