The last text message 15-year-old Armando Soto sent his best friend was a photo of Soto and his girlfriend with the caption “goals.”
It was 5:58 p.m. on Tuesday.
Soto’s best friend, Juan Herrera, never responded.
The California Highway Patrol reported that 16-year-old Herrera died Tuesday in a traffic collision with a dump truck on a rural road southwest of Stockton. The collision happened just after 5 p.m. on Howard Road near a 90-degree curve at Undine Road.
According to the CHP, Herrera was driving a 2009 black Nissan Altima at an unknown speed westbound on Howard Road approaching Undine when the Nissan drifted off the roadway into a dirt field. Herrera then over-corrected, causing the Nissan to spin counterclockwise back onto Howard Road. The Nissan spun right into the path of a three-axle Freightliner dump truck driven by Edgar Garcia-Lopez, 19, of Stockton.
Soto, who had been best friends with Herrera for three years, said Herrera was excited and happy about an upcoming date. The two had seen each other earlier that day when Herrera had dropped him off at home.
Herrera was supposed to update Soto on how the date went, but sometime after 10 p.m., Soto got the news that Herrera had died.
“Honestly, a huge part of me left with him,” said Soto, who met Herrera during their freshman year at Weston Ranch High School. “He was always there for me when I needed anything.”
The two bonded over their love of cars, especially the Mustang 5.0, and over burritos during their sophomore year. Most recently, the two were finishing work on a Mustang that Herrera was fixing up. The two…
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