BAKERSFIELD, CA - Family and friends are grieving the loss of two best friends, killed in a car crash near Bakersfield College on Saturday. It happened at the intersection of University Avenue and Columbus Street.
The two friends were on their way to a car wash when they collided with an SUV, but police said it's unclear who had the right of way. Candles, balloons and flowers mark the spot where 31-year-old Severo Ramirez and 33-year-old Leonel Del Toro were killed.
"They were going to set up for a car wash. They never made it to their car wash so we kind of made it for them," said Richard Villanueva, Ramirez's roommate.
On Sunday, friends of the two men had heavy hearts as they washed cars to help raise money for funeral expenses. "I just think if you rip someone's heart out and throw it to the ground, maybe something like that, ya know?" explained Villanueva.
Friends say Ramirez and Del Toro were best friends who went to school together and were members of the MECHA club. Del Toro was on the championship football team. When he wasn't on the field, he was watching football with Ramirez, a die-hard Raiders fan.
"Really kind-hearted, he listened to everybody, always had opinions, real sweet, always tried to make everyone smile and laugh," said Amanda Flores, describing her boyfriend.
Police said Ramirez and Del Toro were driving in a green sedan Saturday morning when they were broadsided by an SUV.
Ramirez's girlfriend believes Del Toro ran a red light. "The other car t-boned them and they died instantly. No cuts or bruises or anything," said Flores.
Officers are still investigating the crash. Police don't know who was wearing seat belts. The driver of the SUV, 35-year-old Felicitas Mendoza, had two kids with her in the SUV. They were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Officers don't believe alcohol or drugs were factors in the crash.
17 News spoke with neighbors who said the intersection where the crash took place is notorious for drivers trying to beat the traffic light. They say drivers simply need to slow down.
"They come speeding around the corner and there happens to be some large trees that may prevent some drivers from seeing the light," said Aaron Jackson.
"There's a curve there. Sometimes you know it's difficult to see the light coming up, whether the light's red, and of course, if you're speeding that makes it twice as bad," noted Rudy Barerra.