BC football player dies after struck by vehicle

ARVIN, Calif. - Family and friends confirm Bakersfield College football player and South High alumnus Jonathan Garcia, 17, died when he was hit as he crossed the intersection at Comanche Drive and Panama Lane Friday night. 

Crosses mark the intersection of Comanche Drive and Panama Lane, a reminder of two deadly crashes in the last six months. 

Friends said Garcia left a football game at Arvin High School. He cheered his alma mater, South High, to victory over the Bears, 35-12.

Garcia graduated from South High School in May, where he was an active member in the schools ROTC program, the school choir and a powerhouse on the football field.

"If you played on the football team, it was just a brother-ship. It was automatically, we were family. That's how I considered it. I didn't consider it me losing a friend. It was me losing a brother," friend and former teammate Ruben Gutierrez said.

According to California Highway Patrol, Garcia was crossing Comanche Drive and Panama Lane just before 11 p.m. 

Omar Landeros, 24, was traveling north on Comanche Drive when he struck and killed Garcia.

CHP said they do not believe drugs or alcohol were involved.    

In March, Frankie Vega, 32, ran a stop sign at the same intersection and slammed into a Mercedes, killing him and two other people.

CHP said speed and alcohol were suspected in that collision.

"All these rural roadways, stop signs, even if you don't have a stop sign, it's always a good idea to check both ways to make sure no one is coming," Cecil Mckinty with CHP said.

Meanwhile, friends are in shock over Garcia's death. 

"Jonathan was just a beautiful soul. He was an amazing friend. A lot of people loved him. His character was just amazing," Gutierrez said.

To his friends, Garcia was "Tank" because of his strength and unstoppable spirit.

He was a freshman on the BC football team and a respected former junior ROTC member.  

By our count this makes 31 pedestrian deaths this year.

The family set up a GoFundMe account to help cover funeral expenses.

 

 

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