Classmates

Classmates light candles in honor of Porfi rio H. Gonzales Elementary School student Edgar Nuñez-Hernandez. (West Valley View photo by Jordan Christopher)

Goodyear teen killed in crash called an ‘angel’

Tributes are pouring in for 13-year-old Edgar Nuñez-Hernandez of Goodyear, who was killed in a two-car crash at Yuma Road and Village Boulevard on June 25.

“Edgar was an extraordinary student and leader,” said Dr. Lupita Ley Hightower, superintendent at Tolleson Elementary School District. “He would always make it a point to include all around him and made them feel welcome.”

The Porfirio H. Gonzales Elementary School pupil served as student body vice president; a chief science officer; news anchor for the school’s Aztec Morning News; a member of the National Junior Honor Society and frequent volunteer at Stella’s Farmers Market. His goal, according to Tolleson Mayor Anna Tovar, was to be student body president by the eighth grade.

“Edgar touched all our lives and we will always remember him,” Hightower said. “We are devastated with the loss of this angel.”

Tovar expressed her sorrow on social media.

“On behalf of city of Tolleson council members and our entire staff, we send our deepest condolences as we mourn the passing of Porfirio H. Gonzales Elementary School student Edgar Nuñez-Hernandez.

“This past December, Edgar was awarded a laptop at our Luces de Navidad festival for being an amazing role model student. When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he stated a surgeon.”

A candlelight vigil was held July 1 in the courtyard of Porfirio Elementary in Edgar’s memory. Hundreds of attendees included family members, teachers, classmates, the Tolleson fire department and community members, many of whom wore Aztec school spirit shirts. The heartfelt ceremony included speeches from Edgar’s teachers and classmates, a video created by Edgar’s family and a bilingual prayer.

“I’ve taught for 25 years,” said Edgar’s sixth-grade science teacher, Tammy Brewer, at the vigil. “He was the best role model student I could think of. This just breaks my heart.”

“You couldn’t find a student more interested in serving his community,” Brewer added through tears. “He was every teacher’s dream.”

Karisia Vasquez, a fellow member of student council, shared that Edgar was an extremely hardworking student. “He was a very funny guy. In any situation he would always make your day… just seeing his smile made your day,” she said.

The crash injured six others after a pick-up truck reportedly rear-ended the vehicle in which Edgar was riding after it failed to stop at a red light.

The pick-up truck’s occupants (a 30-year-old man and two children ages 5 and 3) as well as the passenger car’s occupants – a 59-year-old man, 46-year-old woman, 11-year-old and Edgar – were transported to the hospital with minor to critical injuries.

Edgar sustained critical injuries and died at the hospital. The other six individuals, also of Goodyear, are expected to recover, according to police. A GoFundMe set up to help his family, however, said his mother and brother are in intensive care as of June 27.

Though impairment is not suspected, a criminal investigation is underway, police said.

For more information on the fundraiser, visit gofundme.com/helping-the-nunezhernandez-family.

Connor Dziawura contributed to this story.