News articles about the deaths of innocent bystanders

Bobby Aguilar, 19

and Edgar Trevino-Mendoza, 19

killed October 22, 2006 in Yakima, Washington

Bobby Aguilar and Edgar Trevino-Mendoza Questions Police Pursuits

Families Mark Anniversary of High Speed Chase

that Killed Two Yakima Teens

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Yakima, WA - Monday, October 22, 2007

One year later, two Yakima families remain united in their efforts to get tough on criminals who elude police

Today marks the anniversary of the deaths of two Yakima teens killed in a high-speed chase.

People drive by on Nob Hill Boulevard with no idea about what happened a year ago.

High on meth, and in a stolen vehicle, Blake Young led police on a high-speed chase only a month after getting arrested for eluding in King County.

Bobby Aguilar and Edgar Trevino-Mendoza eventually died from injuries in a crash with Young.  A crash their families say could've been prevented.

"I just want everybody to remember my brother Edgar and Bobby for the cool guys there were," says Hugo Trevino-Mendoza. 

He addressed the media at the crash scene on 48th Ave and Nob Hill Blvd.

One year later, the tears had not gone away.

Family members hammered a wooden cross into the ground with a stone.

"This is Edgar, this is Bobby, this is Juan," says a friend, wearing a t-shirt with a picture of all three teens that were in the car that day. 

For Juan Ortega, the lone survivor, those are chilling memories. 

"What if.  What if we took another road," he says, "Now, I'm going to have to wait to see my cousin when I'm in heaven."

Ortega still suffers lingering effects from a head injury in the crash.

Blake Young sits in jail awaiting trial for one count of 2nd degree murder, two counts of vehicular homicide and one count of stolen property.

Bobby, Edgar and Juan were going to play basketball when Young crashed into them.

Their families are now trying to keep their legacy alive by fighting for stiffer penalties against criminals who elude police so this tragedy doesn't happen to another family.

During the last legislative session, a bill to do that stalled in committee. 

"It's been hard, but at the same time, we're trying to do something about it so his memory can live on," says Ana Lucas-Garcia, the mother of Bobby Aguilar.

The families plan to go back to Olympia to lobby for the eluding bill in the in the 2008 legislative session.

Blake Young is tentatively scheduled to stand trial in early February.

New Yakima Valley Lawmaker Introduces Legislation

to go After Those Who Elude Police

Daily Sun News
January 15, 2007

OLYMPIA - Rep. Charles Ross views public safety as one of his legislative priorities, and his first bill as 14th District state representative reflects that: it would dramatically increase the penalties for drivers who attempt to elude law enforcement officers.

Ross (R-Naches) said the legislation he filed late last week is inspired by the tragic story of two young Yakima men, Bobby Aguilar and Edgar Mendoza. They died last fall after their car was struck by a vehicle that was being chased by police.

"Protecting citizens is one of the fundamental obligations of government, and as we've been reminded lately, in Yakima and over in Seattle, a car in the hands of someone trying to elude the police is a deadly weapon," said Ross, who took the oath of office Friday after being elected in November.

"I want criminals who see a patrol car's lights flashing in their rear view mirror to ask themselves, when they're deciding whether to hit the accelerator: is trying to outrun this officer worth a year in prison on top of any other sentence I might receive?"

Ross' legislation would establish a special allegation of "endangerment by eluding" in cases involving a charge of attempting to elude a police vehicle, where someone other than the criminal is threatened with physical injury or harm by the criminal action. It would be considered a crime against persons and a class B felony with a seriousness level of 3. The standard crime of eluding is seriousness level 1 and a class C felony.

His bill would allow imposing an additional 12-months-plus-1 to 24 months beyond the standard sentence range in cases of "endangerment by eluding" and require any enhancement to be consecutive, not concurrent, with any other sentence or enhancement imposed.

Also, a conviction for "endangerment by eluding" would make prior convictions for certain other vehicle-related crimes count double when figuring an offender score.

Ross' bill is named the "Guillermo 'Bobby' Aguilar and Edgar F. Trevino-Mendoza Public Safety Act of 2007."

His legislation, which was formally introduced last Friday, is the second and stronger measure against eluding that appeared in the House last week. Ross is a co-sponsor of the other bill, introduced last Monday by Longview Democrat Rep. Dean Takko.

"Because the Democrats have a supermajority in the House, and can pass any bill they like, some people asked me why I'm going ahead with a bill that has tougher penalties than what the Democrats have proposed," Ross said. "I think the question answers itself: I'm doing it because I believe the penalties should be tougher than the Democrats have proposed.

"Representative Takko's bill is a good step in the right direction. I'd like to take a bigger step in the right direction."