TESTIMONIAL. “Our son died in a chase after a bad joke on a neighbor”

Three inseparable friends since childhood unfortunately remained so until death. Little consolation for the parents of Daniel Hawkins, Jacob Ivascu and Drake Ruiz, aged 16, killed instantly in a car accident on Sunday evening, January 19, in the city of Corona, 75 kilometers from Los Angeles . “I know my son is in heaven, he’s with his two best friends,” said Janet, Daniel’s mum, in devastation. “They did everything together, and I guess they didn’t want to split up, so they did. all went to heaven together. ”

The day had started well for the three friends nicknamed by their relatives “The Three Amigos” (in reference to a parody western, inspired by an old Disney cartoon, The Three Caballeros). On the eve of a holiday, Daniel had invited his best friends, Jacob and Drake, their little brothers (Joshua Ivascu, 14, and Joshua Hawkins, 13) to his home, as well as their boyfriend Sergio, 18. The evening starts in a good-natured atmosphere.

“Someone just came up with the idea of ​​ringing a neighbor’s doorbell …”

“My brother Daniel was a funny guy,” says Joshua Hawkins. “All his friends liked him very much and they were always excited to see him. They were all in a good mood when they were around him.” This festive Sunday goes by at full speed, between barbecue and ball games in the garden. Daniel is the junior star of the local club’s American football team. A talent which should allow him to win a scholarship for the university. The teens continue the celebrations with a pajama party around pizzas and series. Then, the gang decides to take advantage of Sergio’s car to take a tour of their neighborhood. “Someone came up with the idea of ​​jumping into a neighbour’s pool or ringing the bell,” the latter recalls.

The merry band opts for “Ding-Dong Ditch”, this game which consists of ringing someone’s doorbell and then taking the scampering … But now, Joshua rings the bell of a bellicose neighbor, Anurag Chandra. As soon as they ring the doorbell, a furious voice answers them. Hilarious, the kids run away and jump in the car. But the malcontent does not stop at a string of insults, he gets into his vehicle and chases the teenagers. Then begins a fatal chase, explains the young Sergio, at the wheel during the drama: “He was stuck to us and I felt a first blow forward, as if he had hit me from behind. . I was like, “This guy is crazy!” Then he slammed his car right into us. I was thrown against my window and passed out. I remember waking up on the floor, in shock, not knowing how I got there. ”

“My son would have liked me to forgive his murderer …”

It is 10:30 p.m., their car has just crashed into a tree. Daniel, Jacob and Drake are killed instantly, Sergio and the two little brothers are injured and taken to the emergency room. The driver leaves his car on the road and runs away. He will be arrested at home. Himself the father of a family, he is being prosecuted for murders and attempted murders. He pleaded not guilty on February 21. Driven by an unwavering faith even at the heart of such a tragedy, the families of the three teenagers declared at the end of April to grant their forgiveness to the driver. “My son would have said to me, ‘Mum, you have to forgive him, you have to.’ Because not forgiving will never move forward,” said Ramona, Jacob’s mother.

The families of the victims also had a thought for that of the driver. “I also feel sorry for them,” said Sarah, Daniel’s little sister, kindly, “it must be absolutely terrible for them, because they did nothing, they are not their father nor what they are. ‘he did.” However, all say they want to obtain justice in the courts. The three childhood friends were buried in the same cemetery. In accordance with young Drake’s wish, his organs were harvested for donation to sick people, a comfort to his mom Debbie: “It means a lot to me to know that part of my son continues to live with other people. ”

“The Three Amigos” (from left to right): Daniel Hawkins, Jacob Ivascu and Drake Ruiz. © DOC REMEMBERTHE3.COM

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