BOYLE HEIGHTS (CBSLA.com) — Edgar Rodriguez-Ramirez wants to talk about his dad because he wants him to be remembered for the way he lived, not the way he died.
“It hurts me he’s not here, I miss him a lot, this is not the way we should have lost him,” he said. “My dad was a caring guy. Taught us how to be strong but also taught us to love and how to bring joy to people’s lives.”
Julian Rodriguez, 53, was killed when a wrong-way driver hit his car head-on around 3:30 a.m. Monday. The CHP says a Honda Insight was speeding, northbound in southbound lanes on the 5 freeway in Buena Park before slamming into Rodriguez’s SUV. Both drivers were killed.
“That’s when it became real when I saw my dad’s car the way it was.”
But Edgar didn’t want this to be the last memory of his dad. Instead, he wants everyone to know that Julian Rodriguez came to the U.S. In the 80’s to support his family. He worked as a security guard, then went to trade school and most recently started working for an Orange County company doing inventory. He was headed there early Monday morning.
“My father’s life ended quickly and abruptly. He was a hard-working man, he had just become a U.S. citizen a week ago today.”
Edgar says his dad was the last one in the family to become a citizen. It was a dream 15 years in the making.
“To take his oath and walk away as a citizen, it was a joy in his face I hadn’t seen before.”
Now as this family grieves, Edgar says he’d like to meet the family of the other driver.
“My dad is not here with me anymore, but they’ve also lost somebody. The least I can do is provide them with that peace of mind. I want to tell my dad he made us proud and that we’re gonna carry on his name and his legacy.”
If you would like to help the family in this time of grief, click on their gofundme page.