The death of his 15-year-old friend led Marco A. Cruz closer to God, his mother Amanda Cruz said.
The 19-year-old Marco Cruz has been grappling with the death of Alfredo Juarez after a car crash on July 2.
“He’s taken it really rough. He’s had anxiety attacks,” Amanda Cruz said. “I can’t say I know what he’s going through because I don’t, but I can imagine what he’s going through.”
Marco Cruz drove his friend from the Gainesville tire shop July 2 where Cruz worked and Juarez would help out. Cruz took Atlanta Highway after a heavy rain.
“He hit a puddle of water, the car hydroplaned,” Amanda Cruz said. “Marco says all he remembers is the car going up.”
The Honda Civic hit a plastic construction barrel and rotated before striking a tree near Chicopee Baptist Church on the passenger side, Georgia State Patrol officials said.
Cruz suffered minor injuries in the crash and is distraught after losing his friend.
“He was just crying and kept saying, ‘Why did this happen? I’m sorry, God. I’m sorry, Alfredo,’” Amanda Cruz said.
GSP Cpl. Dallas Van Scoten said the rain and “probably a little speed” contributed to Cruz losing control of the car.
Amanda Cruz said her son would describe Juarez as a “great boy” who was a churchgoer. Since the crash more than a week ago, she and her son have in turn grown closer to God.
“We’ve been praying. We’ve been reading the Bible,” Amanda Cruz said. “I took him to church and we’re going again (today). Before basically all he would do is work, come home, eat, go to sleep.”
Marco Cruz was charged with second-degree vehicular homicide and failure to maintain lane on Tuesday.
“Being his mom, I’m trying to stay strong, as strong as I can for him,” Amanda Cruz said.
A roadside memorial was created around the tree on Atlanta Highway where the incident occurred, a place where the Cruz family said they plan to continue to lay flowers.
After the crash, Amanda Cruz said she has prayed with the Juarez family and wishes to continue helping in any way possible.
“We’ve got to be there for this family. It’s in our hearts. We have to be there for them as they’re going through this. We’ve gotta be there the whole time,” Amanda Cruz said. “Even when time passes, we’re still going to be there for them.”