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Family Remembers Loved Ones Who Died In Car Crash Near Anthony, NM

Andrew Valenzuela could always get family and friends to smile.

His demeanor helped earn him the nickname “King.”

“He was a good guy. He was always there for his family. Never gave up on life. Always with his head up. Taught me a lot in life … (He was) like a mentor to me and I’m his older brother,” Andrew’s brother, Robert Leony, said.

Andrew died at the scene after the car he was driving crashed into a white pickup truck Wednesday morning at the intersection of Vinton Road and Westside Drive just West of Anthony, N.M.

His girlfriend, 21-year-old Karla Diaz, was eight months pregnant with their baby girl and was also injured in the crash, along with the couple?s 2-year-old son, Jaiden. Diaz was due in just two weeks.

Dona Ana County Sheriff’s officials said Valenzuela ran a stop sign and caused the collision.

Doctors induced labor at University Medical Center of El Paso, but Diaz and their baby girl died Wednesday. Jaiden, who is in stable condition in the intensive care unit, suffered serious head trauma and a stroke from the crash.

Andrew’s brothers said it’s hard to deal with the reality of what they lost, but they managed to smile when asked about their brother.

“He was just a funny guy. Everything we did, he made everybody laugh, even if you were mad. Get you to smile,” Andrew’s brother, Adrian Valenzuela, said.

“He always said, ‘Head up, always smile, always be a good person to people,'” Leony said.

Family members said Andrew lived just up the road from the intersection where the crash changed everything. They said they never imagined this could happen to him in an area he knew so well.

The only reminders left at the crash scene are shards of glass, tire marks and a blue cross.

Family friend Rudy Evaro placed the cross at the scene to remind people of who they lost. He said he painted it blue because Andrew liked the Dallas Cowboys.

Evaro was also the one who pulled little Jaiden out of the back seat of the car at the scene of the accident.

“I just told him, ‘Hang in there. They’re on their way. Just stay strong.’ And I just kept rubbing his back and just talking to him. Hopefully he could hear somebody there at least,” Evaro told ABC-7.

Evaro said he watched Andrew grow up and it’s just a tragedy for that family to be torn apart in just a matter of minutes.

Family members said it’s hard to believe they lost so much, so quickly.

“He was always there for everybody. (If) you needed something, he came through even if he couldn’t. He always did what he could for everybody,” Adrian Valenzuela said.

“The last thing you say is just ‘bye.’ You never expect this…Just peace out, see you later,” Leony said.

Adrian said he spoke to his brother on the phone just minutes before the crash.

“I said, ‘I’m going to see you at 5 o’clock.’ I talked to him ten minutes before he crashed right here, and I told him ‘I’ll be there to hang out with you at 5 o’clock when I get out of work.’ That was the last thing I said,” Adrian said.

Adrian said unfortunately this isn’t the first time he and his family have dealt with great loss. Andrew’s older brother, Adam Valenzuela, died in a car accident about four years ago. Family members said Adam was 22-years-old when he died — the same age as Andrew.

Family friends said the family referred to the deaths of the brothers as a curse.

The family is holding a car wash later this week to raise money so the three family members can all be buried together. Details will be posted at when released.

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