Expressions of love in Vacaville Tuesday for lives lost too early, as hundreds of teens met in a field along Nut Tree and Opal roads to remember friends killed in a weekend crash.
“I’m hurt right now. It hasn’t quite hit me. It still feels unreal,” Caesar Andrade, friend of crash victim Gilbert Guzman, told FOX40.
That raw grief about 19-year-old Guzman and 16-year-old Christie Brisley was met with resistance as Vacaville Police and Solano County Sheriff’s deputies made a show of force.
They tried to drive the kids off the 4-wheeling grounds their friends loved and where they intended to honor them.
“Shut it down? It’s kind of messed up. It’s a candlelight… it’s respectful,” Wyatt Gordon, Brisley’s friend, said.
Late Tuesday a deputy was able to explain part of the law enforcement side of what happened the controversial memorial.
“It’s not their property. Do we allow them to stay on the property and work through the process? That’s the route that we eventually took. We thought it was in the best interest of every body involved,” Solano County Sheriff’s Deputy Daryl Snedeker said.
Though officers had received word that there would be alcohol brought to the vigil and a bonfire set, neither happened.
No arrests were made.
Snedeker said deputies were mindful of the sensitive nature of the memorial and that the confusing “get off the property,” “have your vigil” directions came as officers tried to manage a crowd that grew to 400.
They succeeded at turning away some mourners and then tried to keep new arrivals separate from the group already assembled as they quote decided what to do.
Large groups of teens started ignoring their orders and walked through a field and around them to the memorial site.
Deputies stood by and watched the crowd swell but then, one got on the loudspeaker in his cruiser.
“Listen up, if you’re having your vigil start having it because we don’t know if we’re kicking you out yet,” he said.
Confusion and extra tension added to a situation full of tender emotions over teens killed in a suspected drunk-driving crash.
Guzman was the driver in that incident.
Three of his friends survived with serious injuries and are still hospitalized.