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Stop the Violence

In Loving Memory
Author: Alejandra Nolasco

On February 5, 2005, five 
wonderful lives were lost on 
Highway 101: Tomacina “Tammy” Uresti, 17, Julio 
Prieto, 18, Matthew Escamilla, 18, Andrew Tibbitts 19, 
and Evan Kuhn, 21. A tragedy like this was never 
expected. We as teens never expect death, especially 
if a close friend whom you grew up with dies 
prematurely. There is nothing that compares to the 
pain many people felt after the news of these five 
teenagers who were killed.
I was friends with Tammy, the driver of the vehicle, 
for three years. She was the type of person that 
always stuck out in a crowd. She was outgoing, caring, 
and made friends wherever she went. We had dreams to 
graduate and move on to college. So when I found out 
she was dead I couldn’t believe it; I was shocked. I 
thought I would go to school on Monday and see her 
there. Even now I can’t believe it happened. When the 
news spread of the tragedy nobody was able to 
comprehend the fact that five people they knew were 
dead. Many other people were in shock responding with 
remarks such as, “I barely talked to them yesterday, 
it can’t be them.” 
Many people loved the five teens who lost their lives. 
At Ramsay Park in Watsonville, where some of the teens 
in the accident skateboarded, a mural was made of the 
deceased faces. One of the fences at the park has many 
flowers and writings. Since Tammy’s favorite color was 
purple, the Health Academy, a program Tammy attended 
at Watsonville High, provided purple ribbons and 
beautiful pictures of Tammy with her most common 
quote: “How Exciting!” They also provided purple 
candles for Tammy’s funeral. The Watsonville Drama 
Club created shirts with her picture. 
The teenage years are difficult years. Some teenagers 
never make it out alive. We at ShoutOut were shocked 
that five of our peer’s lives ended one night last 
February, when their car was struck by another car on 
Highway 101. We were hit with the disbelief and 
realization that life could end so quickly. We thought 
we would still see these five people, either at 
Watsonville High School or skating at Ramsey Skate 
Park, but then we realized we would never see them 
Tammy was a very unique person and her death impacted 
many people’s lives. “Not many of us can be so open, 
so genuinely,” said Amy Shellman, Health Academy 
teacher at Watsonville High. “She was a role model for 
an optimistic, light hearted attitude and pulling off 
a diploma.”
Many teens reacted differently to the accident. For me 
the accident opened my mind and made me want to care 
for the people that surround me and not to take them 
for granted. It made me realize that I will never know 
what can happen. “Depending on what a person lacks, is 
worried about, who or how they love, all these things 
make their grief different,” Shellman said. “It makes 
them think about what they haven’t accomplished in 
life yet, who they haven’t forgiven, what it means to 
leave suddenly.”
I believe it’s important to learn from this tragedy, 
to understand the meaning of a person and to 
appreciate who we have in our lives. There will be a 
day, sometimes unexpected, when the ones we love will 
be gone forever and there will be no time to say 
goodbye. All we’ll have left is “REST IN PEACE” 
and “we’ll always remember you.”