On Wednesday, the family and friends of Enrique Tejada gathered amid Christmas decorations in the family's south Palo Alto condominium to honor the life of the brother, son and young man they loved.
Tejada, 28, died in a single-car accident Monday in the Santa Cruz Mountains on Sanborn Road. He was driving a 1998 Oldsmobile, going fast, and he was not wearing a seatbelt, California Highway Patrol spokesman Todd Thibodeau said.
He had also been drinking, Thibodeau said.
Around 3:45 p.m., the car drifted to the left on the curvy road near State Highway 9, Thibodeau said. Tejada overcorrected, swerving to the right. The Oldsmobile struck an embankment and flipped several times, landing on the roadway, Thibodeau said.
Tejada was killed instantly and his two passengers -- friends from work, according to his brother, 26-year-old Hector Tejada -- were injured.
Sunnyvale residents Jesus Badillo, 33, and Samuel Guillen, 28, were taken to Valley Medical Center. Both suffered from cuts and facial lacerations, and one had a spinal injury, Thibodeau said. Badillo and Guillen had both been discharged by Thursday, a hospital spokeswoman said.
As they sat talking Wednesday night, family members acknowledged that Tejada could have been drinking. But they were comforted that Tejada has been reunited with his father, Juan, who died in 2005. The two shared a special bond, Hector Tejada said.
"That's what has given us peace of mind. They're together now," sister Mayra Tejada, 21, said.
Although they were near a campsite, the three men had not been camping, Mayra Tejada said. They had been working that day, she said.
Tejada was the oldest of four children, a key member of a close-knit Mexican-American family, Hector said. He lived with his two brothers, Hector and Mario.
He attended Gunn High School and played varsity soccer but did not graduate, Hector said. Enrique also played soccer for Foothill College and also enjoyed handball and baseball, Hector said.
He then studied carpentry, graduating from Project Build offered at the Opportunities Industrialization Center West (OICW), his mother Carmen said, proudly displaying his certificate.
"He was a great guy, a good older brother, a good human," Hector said. "We loved him and cared about him."
Although he worked as a carpenter, Enrique was always willing to pitch in and help his family, which owns Ramona's Pizza on Birch Street, or fix something around the house, Mayra said.
A rosary has been scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 30, at 7 p.m. at Roller Hapgood and Tinney at 980 Middlefield Road. The funeral is Monday, Dec. 31, at 10 a.m., also at the funeral home.
Tejada's death was the first during Avoid the 13, the 19-day drunk driving crackdown by Santa Clara County law enforcement agencies, according to campaign spokeswoman Jan Ford.
From Dec. 14 to Dec. 25, officers in the county arrested 522 people for drunk driving, up 14 percent from last year, Ford said.