Parents, Plainfield schools mourn teens killed in Kendall crash
By Janet Lundquist firstname.lastname@example.org June 5, 2012 2:40PM
Raquel Banuelos, Naperville, center is comforted by Anna Snitko as Ricardo Banuelos looks on at Route 126 and Schlapp Road in southern Kendall County, IL on Tuesday June 5, 2012. Alexis Banuelos, their daughter, was killed in a car accident with two other teens at this location on Monday. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 7, 2012 8:40AM
The parents of three teenagers killed Monday afternoon when a semi truck slammed into the car they were in spoke about their children with tears in their eyes Tuesday morning.
“She died with the person she loved, her boyfriend, Tyler, and her best friend, Brian Herrera,” said Ricardo Banuelos, father of Alexis Banuelos, 18, of Naperville.
Banuelos and Tyler Montgomery, 19, of Plainfield, were riding in a car driven by Herrera, 19, of Plainfield, when it was hit by the truck about 3:15 p.m. on Route 126 at Schlapp Road in unincorporated Kendall County.
State police said the truck was heading east on Route 126 when the teens’ vehicle edged out in front of it.
The truck, which was hauling bags of silicon sand, rolled over, police and fire officials said. Crews were on the scene until about 9 p.m. cleaning up, police said.
The truck driver, Scott Fernatt, 45, of Hodgkins, was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.
Kendall County Coroner Ken Toftoy said police told him they didn’t find evidence of drugs or alcohol at the scene and that a toxicology test on Herrera will take 10 days to complete.
Toftoy said there have been a number of crashes near that intersection, including one that killed three Oswego teens in a car that pulled out in front of a truck in 1990.
“It’s wide open there, there’s no obstructions,” Toftoy said. “But I think ... you pull up to it and sometimes people can’t estimate how fast traffic’s coming from either direction.”
Mike Montgomery, Tyler’s father, said he got a call from police about the crash at 7 p.m. Monday.
Tyler did not have identification with him, but police found his cell phone at the scene, Montgomery said.
“(Tyler has) touched many people’s lives. He’s very caring, very passionate about things. He would make sure somebody else is OK before himself,” he said. “He’s going to be deeply missed.”
Herrera, who was working two jobs — one at Bob Evans in Plainfield and one at Abercrombie and Fitch at Fox Valley Mall in Aurora — liked to joke around with his brothers, Alex, 16, and Christian, 12.
“He was a good driver, too,” said his father, Armando Herrera. In the two years Brian had a driver’s license, he had no tickets or problems until now, Herrera said.
“My son was very friendly, he was friendly with everyone,” he said.
Out for a drive
Montgomery speculated the teens were out for a joyride that afternoon but did not know where they were going. Tyler and Alexis were supposed to have dinner at her parents’ house Monday night, he said.
“I had to call her parents and let them know the news,” Montgomery said. “Alexis was his girlfriend. That was the love of his life.”
Both Tyler and Alexis were attending Joliet Junior College, their parents said. Tyler, a budding musician, graduated from Plainfield North High School in 2010, Alexis in 2011. Herrera also attended Plainfield North but did not graduate.
“We extend our sincere condolences to the families of these three students,” said Plainfield School District spokesman Tom Hernandez in a statement released Tuesday. “All of our students are part of the District 202 family, even after they’ve moved on to life after high school, and so we also grieve this loss.”