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Manuel Gutierrez was born in California on August 30, 1990 and died in Utah on August 30, 2009. His death occurred in Spanish Fork Canyon. I do not understand why the four, Manuel and the other three young people who were in the car, went to the place where they died. One of the “friends” who was driving lost control because of the high rate of speed he was going.
Manuel was a great son, brother, and father. He was a tender person, full of love for people, very active and always happy. He liked to talk a lot and nobody could stop him from doing so. He liked to cook, organize his clothes; he always had a smile on his face, his happiness had encouraged us; his friends used to admire Manuel’s happiness. He had friends from all ages and they called him “Manny Fresh.” Manuel used to say that among his two brothers and two sisters, he was the most spoiled by his mom and dad. Manuel wanted to be a dentist. He used to practice soccer and ride his skateboard.
In Manuel’s short life, he had an 11 month-old son, who was left to the responsibility of a mother. Manuel was a very responsible father. He was planning to celebrate his son’s first birthday on September 19. Manuel used to work at a pizzeria. His boss used to say that he was a good administrator and very responsible at his work.
The tragedy came the night of August 29, 2009. Manuel arrived home around 10:00 p.m. I told him not to go out, that it was late, that he has to take care of his son. The baby was with me and he told me he was going to leave for a little while only and would return as soon as possible. Manuel’s friends were waiting for him outside in a car. That was the last time we talked to him. The next morning, which was his birthday, the police arrived around 9:30 a.m. to give us the bad and worst news. They said that Manuel had been in an accident and he had lost his life along with his friends due to speeding. The police said that they had crashed into a concrete barrier. This was the worst news we had received in our life. He had left our family with great emptiness in our hearts. We remember him always with a smile on his face. We talk about him as if we have him physically with us. We trust in God that Manuel is spiritually alive, because in the past he had the opportunity to repent and pledge to give his life to God. Someday we all are going to see him again in the Glory of God but we still miss him and have a lot of pain and sadness because we did not have the opportunity to tell him Happy Birthday and son, I love you.
He always said that we should take advantage of our time. I tell the youth to be conscious about speeding and to think of how their actions will affect friends they take with them. Take care of them as if they were your own brothers.
When you drive watch your speed, do not go too fast, take your time even if you are late to arrive to your destination. Take care of your life and the lives of others; they do not have to die. God bless you.