16 year old Francisco Zuncin had a bright future ahead of him. Known as Chico, he was preparing for his junior year at East Duplin High School where he was a popular soccer player.
As his teammates host a fundraiser to help his family with funeral arrangements, his untimely death is still a shock to many like Benjamin Weston.
“It don't seem like he’s gone i know he's still here with us,” said Weston.
According to troopers, Zuncin was riding shot gun with 20 year old Edwin Alvarez and two other young passengers. Alvarez pulled out in front of a pickup truck at the intersection on Outlaw Bridge Road and Hwy 111.
Jairo Herrera, who called Zuncin his brother, says Chico was very close with his mother. After hearing the news, Herrera says he promised her that he would never stop visiting with her.
“I just know I’m going to miss him a lot, and miss playing with him, and talking to I’m and stuff he was a really good friend,” he said.
Alvarez, a 2010 graduate of East Duplin High, is in critical condition and currently relies on a breathing machine. The other teens: 14 year old Richard Castiana has been released from the hospital. 15 year old Marlon Guttierez is still in the hospital recovering from serious injuries.
Coach Joey Jones described Zuncin as a great player and overall person. Jones says he hopes others will learn from Alvarez’s mistake. “With school starting up, we’re a week from having kids all back in school and stuff. So things like this could happen, they just need to be careful as possible,” said Jones.
The crash is still under investigation. Troopers are waiting to charge Alvarez with failure to yield right-of-way.
A fundraiser is being held at East Duplin High School on Saturday from 5 to 8 pm. To help with donations contact Coach Joey Jones at 910-330-2474