One by one, classmates of 13-year-old Angela Sandoval talked about the girl who never frowned.
“When she was absent, the school would be quiet,” said Brenda Sandoval, 12, who befriended Angela last year. The two were not related, but often joked about which one was the “real” Sandoval.
“She was a really good friend,” Brenda said at a vigil Monday evening for her friend.
Angela was one of five people killed Saturday in a crash on Interstate 15 north of Las Vegas, where police said a man drinking and driving rear-ended the van Angela was riding in, causing it to flip.
The others killed were Genaro Fernandez, 41, of Norwalk; Raudel Fernandez-Avila, 49, and Belen Fernandez, 53, of Lynwood; and Leonardo Fernandez-Avila, 45 of Los Angeles. Two others in the van were seriously injured.
Though police arrested the driver they say is responsible for the crash, Jean Soriano, 18, of Mission Viejo, it was of little consolation Monday for Angela’s friends and peers.
Sandoval cried as she stood with friends on the left side of the front entrance of Eastmont Intermediate School in Montebello, their faces illuminated by candlelight. Nearby, students were dropping change and folded dollar bills into a donation box for Angela’s family.
Angela’s classmates at the school organized the vigil. They stood in line and one by one spoke of the teenage girl who never frowned and was known to pull an occasional prank.
To the right of the school entrance, a large pink banner read “In Loving Memory of Angela S.,” hung above a group of votive candles. A heart-shaped wreath made of pink and white flowers leaned against the wall. Photos of Angela and posters with written messages and poems were taped to the wall.
One poem read:
I cannot say, and will not say, she is dead. She is just away with a cheery smile and a wave of the hand.