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Giver. Beautiful. Funny. Optimistic. Future mother.
This is how friends and family of 25-year-old Leticia Solano, who died in a car accident in Turlock two days before Thanksgiving, remember her best.
“She was just so young,” said longtime friend Oyuki Angel, 23. “All she wanted was to have a family of her own and to become a mom. She had her whole life ahead of her, and it makes me really sad to think that that was taken away.”
Just after dark on Nov. 24, Solano and friends were coming home from shopping when the accident occurred near Washington Road and West Main Street in Turlock. Lizet Montez, the driver of the vehicle, said when the car drifted onto the dirt shoulder of the road, she lost control and hit a light-pole.
Three others, including a child, were injured in the crash, but Solano — who was riding in the front passenger seat — later died from her injuries.
“I know it was an accident, but it’s hard not to feel like it’s your fault,” Montez said. “Everyone keeps telling me that it could have been anyone.”
Solano moved to Patterson when she was 17 from Jalisco, Mexico, with her parents and three younger sisters. She was also a parishioner of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Patterson and had just started a new job as a cashier at La Perla Tapatia a few days before her death.
“(Leticia) was the type of person who would help people no matter what,” said her best friend of eight years, Lizet Montez. “The people around her were her whole world, and any favor you would ask her, the answer would always be ‘Yes.’
“I just miss simple things, like getting to talk to her, or getting a text message. We were like sisters.”
More than anything, friends described Solano as the pillar of her family who carried many financial and familial responsibilities for both her parents and sisters.
“Her family is so devastated, and they’re not holding up well without her,” Angel said. “She translated, took care of her things with her sisters’ school, and drove her mom to work. She was the one who did everything.”
Things have been especially hard for her parents, Anatolio and Guadalupe Solano, because Leticia’s death came right before the holidays.
“I don’t know what to do anymore,” Guadalupe Solano said. “She meant the whole world to me. She meant everything.”
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