‘I died when my son died’; Father loses his only child in suspected DUI crash


FRESNO, California (KGPE) – A father is mourning the loss of his 19-year-old son after he was killed in a crash in Fresno over the weekend.

Carson Gates was in a car that was hit at Chestnut and Nees Avenues on Saturday.

Police say 26-year-old James Anderson was driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana when he blew through a red light. Gates was a passenger in the car that Anderson hit.

His father, Richard Gates, is heartbroken over the loss of his only child. He says Carson graduated from high school in 2018 and had a full life ahead.

“I just want to tell my son I love you and I’m going to miss you,” said Richard Gates, Carson’s father.

His world shattered Saturday afternoon after his son was killed by a suspected DUI driver.

“Because of someone deciding to drink and drive, I’ll never see my son again,” Gates said.

Shortly after 3 p.m. on April 25, police say Anderson was driving this white pickup truck down Nees Avenue. Officers believe Anderson was under the influence of alcohol and marijuana when he ran a red light and slammed into a passing sedan, killing Gates.

“This is something that no parent should have to go through, my life is upside down, I’m empty inside, I died when my son died,” Gates said. 

Gates says his son always had a smile. He says Carson was born in Tennessee and tells us that he raised Carson by himself. Gates says they moved to Fresno 11 years ago to be with family.

“All my family was around me and helped me raise my son, specifically my mother, and he was just a wonderful child,” Gates said.

Gates says Carson loved to skateboard, especially at Todd Beamer Park in Fresno. On Sunday, a vigil was held for family and friends, where candles, balloons, and messages were left in remembrance of Carson.

“His whole young life he was an honor roll student, he was an honor roll student at Clovis North,” Gates said.

Gates calls Anderson selfish and senseless for getting behind the wheel.”My son is gone forever, he’s gone and when he died, I died too,” Gates said.

The suspect, Anderson, is facing Felony DUI charges, including gross vehicular manslaughter.

The family tells us that the driver in the car with Carson was his girlfriend. They say she is doing okay but is devastated as well.

A GoFundMe page was set up to help the family with funeral expenses.

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