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Salinas student killed in drunk driving crash

Student dead in crash, more than just a victim

WATSONVILLE, Calif. - Reserved and overwhelmed with sadness, Daynzu del Carmen Rico Becerra's parents lit up when remembering their daughter.

"She wanted to be in the migrant program to help out others who were like her and whoever needed help," said Rico Becerra's mother, Maria de Socorro Becerra.

The good times were much too short.

"I feel proud of the 18 years that I saw her and was allowed to see her flourish," said her father Lazaro Rico.

Her family says she's left memories that will last a lifetime.

"We have an infinity of stories to tell about our daughter: she was beautiful, amazing. She had lots of charisma," Becerra said.

But the smell of sympathy flowers that filled their living room made her absence even more noticeable.

"We woke up very sad. We came over, and we started talking to her in that picture. My daughter's favorite flowers were orchids. We were talking to her and I told her that we loved her, loved her very so much," said Becerra.

At home and in school, the reality of the loss is just setting in.

"Daynzu was one of those rare students that was, is, was very eager to learn. She was always involved in every program that we threw out there. We didn't have to go look for her," said George Morales, one of Daynzu's advisers. 

She had big dreams, but those who knew her say they were all within reach.

"She wanted to graduate from high school, which doesn't sound like a big goal but it is when you've only been in the country for two, two-and-a-half years, and you have challenges with the language and the culture, financial problems," Morales said. "So her goal was to graduate high school and go to college."

The driver is facing multiple charges.

The family needs all the help they can get. They've set up a GoFundMe page for donations. You can make a contribution here.

UPDATE 8/10/16 12:45 PM: Daynzu del Carmen Rico Becerra, who died in Saturday's crash, attended Everett Alvarez High School in Salinas and was a popular member of the Monterey County Office of Education's Migrant Education program.

The program's director, Summer Prather-Smith, has started an online fundraising account to help Rico Becerra's family with funeral and burial costs.

Prather-Smith issued a statement: "Daynzu Del Carmen Rico was a free spirit who was determined to take advantage of all the opportunities available to her through her school, community and the Migrant Education Program. She took extra classes to earn the credits she needed for graduation, volunteered and participated in all college and career programs offered to her through the Migrant Education Program. Daynzu's dream was to earn her diploma, attend a university and provide a better life for her and her family! She was a role model to her two younger sisters. Daynzu is not only going to be missed by her friends and family. She will be greatly missed by those of us that had the pleasure of being her teachers and counselors!"

ORIGINAL STORY: A Watsonville man is facing multiple charges after California Highway Patrol said he was driving drunk Saturday night during a crash killing his 18-year-old passenger.

CHP said Rafael Reyes Rangel, 22, of Watsonville, crashed into a bridge railing near Elkhorn Road north of Garin Road around 6 p.m. Saturday. They said the car went over the railing and fell about 32 feet.

Officers said Daynzu Del Carmen Rico Becerra, 18, of Salinas, was sitting in the passenger seat and died on scene.

Rangel was taken to the hospital and officers said he will be taken to the Monterey County Jail once he's released.

CHP said Rangel is accused of driving under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.


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