Family members of one of the teens killed by a suspected drunk driver Saturday spoke exclusively to FOX40.
"Matt's life mattered. All those kids' lives mattered...," Deanna Galtieri, Matthew Azar's aunt said. 19 year-old Azar and his friends, 18 year-old Kendra Langham and 18-year-old Mathew Beardwitt were killed early Saturday morning, when a Chrysler 300 on I-80 slammed into his Buick Regal head on. Both cars were unrecognizable.
Investigators said 24 year-old Aaron Jordon Caudillo was behind the wheel, driving the wrong way, near Madison Avenue, with his lights off. California Highway Patrol said Caudillo is in serious but stable condition at the hospital. He has no prior DUI's, but detectives said they found a large bottle of Captain Morgan inside his car.
CJ Galtieri was Matt Azar's maternal cousin. He had a close, almost brotherly relationship with Azar. They shared birthdays exactly one year apart, and were neighbors. Galtieri said Azar was an aspiring DJ/Musician, with a growing local fan base.
"I'll occasionally let a couple of tears out here and there, but for the past few days, I've just been listening to his music," Galtieri said.
He said the three victims were probably listening to Azar's tracks, while driving back from a concert that night.
He said Langham and Beardwitt were in a relationship. They were both big fans of house music. The two were also employees at a Taco Bell in Granite Bay. Their manager told FOX40 they were a ray of sunshine on a gloomy day.
Azar's aunt, Deana Galtieri showed us her favorite photo of her nephew. It was the last photo taken by Azar's mother, a few weeks ago on a cliff in El Dorado Hills. Locals said it is one of the most romantic places in the area, overlooking the Valley, nick-named "Heaven."
"There's the sky, the clouds, my nephew has his thumbs up to heaven, the name of the place is heaven, I can't say what one thing is my favorite thing about this picture," Deana Galtieri said.
Family and friends said the three Granite Bay High School graduates will never be forgotten.
"It's been an insane ride with him [Azar]," CJ Galtieri said.
"I hope society can take something from someone else's pain, and that is to be responsible and realize that for every action, there is a consequence," Deana Galtieri said.
As for the suspect, Aaron Caudillo, he is in custody at the hospital. After he is medically cleared, he will face at least 2 counts of felony DUI and 3 counts of vehicular manslaughter. CHP said other charges may be added after the investigation.
A memorial for the three victims is being scheduled on Sunday. Details TBA.
The family is asking for support from the community, and families of all three victims have set up gofundme accounts you can find below:
For the family of Matt Azar