Los Banos teen dies in head-on crash

Edgar Martinez poses for a photo after his graduation ceremony from Los Banos High School June 3, 2016.
Edgar Martinez poses for a photo after his graduation ceremony from Los Banos High School June 3, 2016. Courtesy of Maggie Martinez

An 18-year-old Los Banos man was killed Friday in a head-on collision on Henry Miller Road, the California Highway Patrol reported Monday. He was identified by the Merced County Coroner’s Office as Edgar Martinez.

According to CHP investigators, Edgar Martinez was heading east just before midnight, driving a 2003 Honda Civic. Investigators said the Honda veered into the westbound traffic lane for an “undetermined reason.”

The vehicle crashed head-on into a 2003 Mercedes E55 driven by 27-year-old Augustin Trillo Jr. of Los Banos, the CHP said in a news release.

Trillo maneuvered to try to avoid the collision but was unsuccessful, the CHP said.

The Honda driver suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. Trillo suffered unspecified minor injuries.

Three of five passengers in the Honda also were injured, officers reported.

Dalia Iris Sanchez Rodas, 18, of San Francisco suffered unspecified “moderate” injuries and Estefany Daniela Contreras Isaolo, 19, of Los Banos suffered minor injuries, according to the CHP. Both were taken to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. Kayla Cortez, 18, of San Francisco suffered minor injuries but was not transported to a hospital.

Carissa Yvette Donato, 18, of Los Banos and Erick Augusto Cortez, 19, of San Francisco were not injured, according to the CHP.

Edgar Martinez’s sister, Maggie Martinez, said her younger brother was traveling with others back to Los Banos after picking up one of his friends and eating at a McDonalds in Santa Nella when the collision occurred.

However, Maggie Martinez said Wednesday the cause of the collision was still unknown to the family.

Investigators said neither drugs nor alcohol appeared to have been factors in the collision.

“He enjoyed helping people”

Maggie Martinez described her brother as a joyful, humble young man, who, as the youngest of six siblings, was doted upon by family.

“He held people very highly,” she said. “He enjoyed helping people. ... And anything he knew would help somebody or benefit, he was so down for it.”

Edgar Martinez loved dancing and also enjoyed video and film-making, his sister said. He was active in a Christian youth group.

Edgar Martinez’s family really saw how much of an impact he had on people during a candlelight vigil held Tuesday night, Maggie Martinez said.

More than 100 people showed up at Colorado Ball Park and walked together to the Martinez’s home.

“It was very emotional,” Maggie Martinez said. “My mom made it to the vigil, and it was emotional for her to see how much everybody was there sharing their love and support. They were sharing all this good stuff, about hanging out and about how they were helped by him.”

Also, over the course of the last several days, friends and supporters poured in their condolences and monetary donations for funeral expenses, Maggie Martinez said.

The family also has set up a Go Fund Me account to help fund expenses at www.gofundme.com/2k9cex5w. As of Wednesday, $1,663 has been raised through the crowdfunding site.

“Edgar lost his life tragically as a result of an automobile accident ... the leading cause of death among teenagers,” according to a family statement on the page. It described Martinez as “a loving son, brother, friend & just a person that made heaven on earth (sic) for anyone who knew him.”

According to the statement, Martinez graduated from Los Banos High School in the spring and had just started classes at a community college to become a nurse.