Teens get dramatic lesson in road safety

LAS VEGAS -- Family and friends are gathering Friday for a balloon release on the anniversary of Angel Velasquez's death.

The 19-year-old was a member of Metro Police's Explorer Program. He was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding his motorcycle last year.

Just this week, 19-year-old Robert Buchanan was riding his motorcycle when he was struck and killed by a pickup truck.

On Friday, Sunrise Children's Hospital hosted its annual Trauma Talk to Teens in hopes of preventing more youth deaths on valley roads.

The message: always buckle up, don't drive impaired, focus on the road and be pedestrian safe.

The teenagers at Friday's seminar got a first-hand look at the consequences of distracted driving in hopes they make better choices behind the wheel, and avoid coming to the Sunrise Trauma Center.

"I didn't really know how you could be in really bad injuries and now that I've seen this stuff that they showed us makes me like want be more safe," Valley High School Senior Maria Cortez said.

Cortez takes safety seriously after she was a passenger with an impaired driver who got into an accident.

"I guess he didn't notice he hit it because he kept going and the police found out and arrested him," she said. "I was like, ‘someone could have got injured and it would have been worse,"

It was much worse for 18-year-old Genevieve Zoreque. Robert Buchanan was her fiancé. He died in a crash between his motorcycle and a truck on Spring Mountain Road near Lindell Road.

"The last thing I remember, the last thing he said to me, he kissed me, he told me he loved me and I kissed him and told him I loved him too," Zoreque said.

Zoreque says Buchanan was an electrician with a photographic memory who loved wrestling and people.

"He had so much love for everybody and just was always trying to make everyone happy, laugh and smile," she said.

Now, her heart aches for a brighter day, hoping no one else has to experience her pain.

"You have to look out for people. You don't see people. You need to keep an eye out. You never know," Zoreque said.

A vigil, celebrating Buchanan's life will take place at 8 p.m. Friday at the crash site. The family is also encouraging people to donate to the wrestling program at Western High School. Buchanan was a wrestler for the team and it is a program that was dear to his heart.

Donations can be made by check to Western High School Wrestling, in memory of Robert Buchanan. The school address is 4601 West Bonanza Road, Las Vegas, 89107.

The family of Angel Velasquez will hold a memorial balloon release at Palm Cemetery on north Jones Boulevard. There are also fundraisers this weekend for Velasquez.

The first is from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Aubuela's Tacos, 4225 East Sahara Ave.

The second event is Angel's Memorial Soccer Tournament. It will be all day Sunday at Walnut Park, 3820 Cecile Ave.


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