EL CAMPO, Texas – Police arrested a teenager they say drove recklessly, crashed and then fled the scene, leaving behind his friend who died in the crash.
The parents of that friend, James Russel O’Canas Junior, light up when they speak of his enthusiasm for life and limitless potential for good.
“He was everything,” said O’Canas’ mother, Ashley O’Canas, looking at her husband, James Russel O’Canas Sr. “He was the best of both of us.”
“He was there, anything I needed,” O’Canas Sr. said, tearing up. “I’m going to miss that, seeing him walk in, seeing that smile.”
The O’Canas Jr. was the oldest of four boys, a senior at El Campo High School, only a few months away from graduation.
On Saturday night, around midnight, police said Lee Cruz Trevino, 19, was driving recklessly on Lum road in Beasley with O’Canas Jr. in the car.
Trevino lost control on a curve in the road and crashed into several trees, police said. A witness who lives at a nearby house said the car then caught fire.
“I tried to wake him up,” a man named Martin said of Trevino. “He didn’t get up, so I started to pull him out the car.”
O’Canas Jr. did not survive the initial crash, Martin said.
“By the time I pulled (Trevino) all the way out and I was actually, fall(ing) on my back, the car went boom,” Martin said.
“Enjoy life,” O’Canas Sr. said. “Enjoy it,” Mrs. O’Canas added, “because it can be taken away in an instant.”
When Trevino woke up, he was confused and scared, Martin said. He added that Trevino insisted that he was not actually driving the car.
“And then he took off running into the wood,” Martin said.
Trevino eventually returned to the scene, police said. He now faces two charges, reckless driving and criminally negligent homicide.
“I’ve been in nonstop prayer, and I can only, I can only get through this with him,” Ashley O’Canas said, referring to God. “It’s been really hard, but the thing that’s comforted me as I’m praying is, that I know that he’s home.”
“We will meet again, we be together again,” the elder O’Canas said. “And I know in my heart now, we will.”