RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — Marisol Serrato says it’s taking all her strength to adjust to the tragic reality of this week’s events.
“It’s just going to feel so empty, because she was always there with me,” the Norte Vista High School senior told CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Tom Wait.
Marisol and her sister, Marisa, were traveling Thursday on different buses to tour Humboldt State University, but Marisa’s bus never made it. A FedEx truck slammed into her tour bus, setting off a fire that claimed the Riverside teen’s life and nine others.
Marisol was still on the road when she was told Marisa’s bus had gotten into an accident.
“I was panicking…my heart was racing. I was moving in my seat. I was huddling over and praying, I was hoping that my sister was OK. All night, I stayed awake,” Marisol said.
The 17-year-old was told early Friday that her sister was among the dead.
The bus was carrying high school students who trip organizers say came from disadvantaged backgrounds and would be the first person in their family to attend college.
Marisol had already been accepted to Humboldt State and had convinced Marisa, who had been wait-listed, to skip their prom so they could tour the school. She says she struggles with that decision.
“Why her? Why not me?” she said.
The Serrato family says they’re trying to focus now on how Marisa lived, not on how she died.
Marisol says it won’t be easy because she shared everything with her twin, including her bed. But she knows that her sister would want her to keep living.
“It’s really difficult to see the future without her. I’m going to really try with all my strength that’s left in me to continue. I know she would want me to finish her dreams,” Marisol said.
Marisa’s mother says she was spiritual and an overachiever. The twins had been accepted to several colleges and were set to start a new chapter in their lives.
Marisol told Wait, “She had a pure heart, and that’s why I think that God must have put her to rest. She didn’t belong in this world.”
Those who wish to help the Serrato family with funeral costs may donate to a fund at Bank of America, 6370 Magnolia Ave., in Riverside, account #325026597007.