Family, friends remember 3 killed in wreck

Gloria Heredia By Gloria Heredia

July 16, 2017 at 10 p.m.

Amalia Rodriguez, center, mother of Isaac Suniga III, is carried by Jose Cavasos, stepfather of Suniga, left, and Michael Lira,  uncle of Suniga, during a fundraiser and balloon release held in honor of the three men killed in a car accident Thursday evening.

Amalia Rodriguez, center, mother of Isaac Suniga III, is carried by Jose Cavasos, stepfather of Suniga, left, and Michael Lira, uncle of Suniga, during a fundraiser and balloon release held in honor of the three men killed in a car accident Thursday evening.   Nicolas Galindo for The Victoria Advocate

Before his death, Joe Ricky Barbontin Jr., 18, was gathering money for his son's birthday party.

Khayden Rai Barbontin turned 3 a day after his father died in a wreck Thursday that also killed two of his friends.

The boy's mom, Judith Rivera, assured him his father was looking down with love.

"I told him his daddy is in heaven, and he said, 'I love my daddy; I want my daddy with me,'" Rivera said.

Barbontin was coming back to Victoria from a day of fishing with his friends - Isaac Suniga III, 24, and Danie Rene Garcia Jr., 22 - when their 2013 Chevrolet Cruze, which was headed north on U.S. 87, struck the back of a 1997 white Ford pickup pulling a trailer. Both vehicles caught fire, and the trio of friends were killed.

The families of the three held an event at a pavilion at 111 N. Ben Wilson St. on Sunday to raise money for the funerals.

Donning red and black, more than 80 people who knew the three men attended the fundraiser. Also, jars sat ready for donations, and family and friends released balloons early in the evening to honor the three men killed.

"Red and black were Isaac's favorite colors," said Crystal Martinez, Suniga's cousin.

Suniga is remembered by many as a great father. He leaves behind a 4-year-old son and his wife, Patrisha Cantu, who is six months pregnant.

"He did everything he could to put a roof over our heads and food on the table. We didn't have to work because he would provide it. It's hard without him here," Cantu said. "It's going to be hard without him."

Crystal Ramirez took the podium at the event and talked about her brother, Danie Rene Garcia Jr. She talked to her brother on a daily basis and said he took over the household responsibilities after their father passed away a couple of years ago.

"He was like the man of the house. He took care of my mom," Ramirez said. "I want everyone to know that he was a good guy."

Family said the three men shared a passion for music and produced music together in a group called Street Dreams. They were often referred to as brothers. Cantu not only lost her husband but her brother, Barbontin.

"They were very close. They all went to heaven together," Cantu said. "God picked them three to go to heaven together."


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