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Candlelight vigil honors West High School student who died

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
June 24, 2012 at 1:24 a.m.
Updated June 25, 2012 at 1:25 a.m.

Jo Ann Ramirez, third from right, releases a bundle of balloons into the air with friends and family at a Sunday balloon release  dedicated to her son, Jacob Lee Guzman, who recently died in a auto accident on Highway 87. The balloon release was the first event of the vigil, followed by a candlelight vigil.

Gabby Cano knows the sorrow of losing a friend too early.

With tears in her eyes Sunday night, the 17-year-old Victoria West High School student grasped a candle in both hands and waited for the sun to set.

When night arrived, Gabby and a sea of West students lit candles in memory of Jacob Guzman, a West senior who died Tuesday in a car wreck.

"He'll be remembered for his smile and just being the best," said Gabby, with tears in her eyes. "I'll always remember when he would come up to me and say, 'Wanna fight?' And I would say, 'Wanna lose?'"

Two days ago, Gabby organized a Facebook event page in honor of Jacob, and requested friends and family assemble at the Victoria Youth Sports Complex to pray and light candles in his name.

Jacob, 18, was a point guard on the West junior varsity basketball team, and he hoped to make varsity in his senior year. He died Tuesday, while riding in the passenger seat of a red Camaro driven by Mario Garcia, 17, who lost control of his vehicle and skid into a Chevrolet Tahoe. Jacob was pronounced dead at the scene.

Mario was admitted to the hospital.

As of 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Mario was in stable condition at DeTar Hospital Navarro.

About 100 friends and family attended the candlelight vigil Sunday, including Jacob's mother, Jo Ann Ramirez.

"I'm amazed with all these people who are here," Ramirez said. "Jacob was one of a kind. He was loved in different ways by so many different people ... there is no sadness here tonight."

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