‘The pain has just begun’: Remembering the young lives lost in a Fresno crash


FRESNO, California (KGPE) – Four young lives were cut short in a single moment Saturday.

It started a little before midnight when patrol officers in Fresno spotted a black Mustang and Camero racing down Blackstone Avenue.

“The Camero stopped and did the right thing. The Mustang didn’t and now we have three innocent souls lost and it never should have happened,” said Fresno City Councilmember Mike Karbassi.

Police said they tried unsuccessfully to stop 18-year-old Irvin Villarreal – but minutes later he ran a red light going more than 100 mph.

Security footage showed how quickly his car shoots by before crashing into a truck, killing himself along with 27-year-old Christopher Vang, 21-year-old Linda Chang, and 17-year-old Allison Chang.

Pao Yang, of The Fresno Center, is a friend of Allison’s father. The family asked him to speak on their behalf.

“They don’t want this to happen to anyone else, because they don’t want anyone to go through the pain they’re going through, and the pain has just begun,” he said.

He said Vang had just started a new job at Walmart, Linda was a dancer and liberal arts major at Fresno State and Allison was a senior at Sanger High School, and out of four children, was her father’s only girl.

“He’s like ‘Pao, I don’t know, it’s my only daughter. It’s my princess,'” Yang said.

There were two other family members in the car. Yang said one has been released from the hospital, the other is still in with a spinal injury and will need surgery.

“This simply could have been a citation and everyone could have gone on their way that evening. It didn’t have to end in a tragedy like this,” Capt. Don Gross with the Fresno Police Department said.

The community is now left to mourn loss of life police say could have been avoided.

“As a parent myself my heart goes out to all the parents, not just the three that lost their lives, but the driver of the other car I could only imagine what his parents are going through,” Yang said.

The family is now planning three separate funerals. A GoFundMe has been set up to help.

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April 29 2021 05:00 pm

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