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May 18, 2005

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Death of teen shocks friends, family Death of teen shocks friends, family (May 18, 2005)

Former Gunn student was expecting a child in seven months

by Sue Dremann and Alexandria Rocha

The mother of a 19-year-old man who died in a horrific auto accident Sunday remembered her son as a sweet, positive kid who lit up the world.

However, she added he had little tolerance for liquor and expressed surprise over speculation that the teen had been drinking before the fatal incident.

"He had love for everyone, he pumped up everyone," Lynette Trevillion said of her son, Charles Marlo Jenkins. "It hurts. I don't understand it, but I hope something good comes of it."

Jenkins, a Gunn graduate, was reportedly driving down Middlefield Road at 100 mph in a Volkswagen Passat after leaving a friend's 21st birthday party in the Ventura neighborhood. Police said the car went airborne as it hit the hump of the Matadero Creek bridge. The car hit a tree, a signpost, and was nearly sheared in half after crashing through a low brick wall before striking two parked, unoccupied cars and stopping in the Safeway parking lot in Midtown.

Jenkins, a Palo Alto resident, was ejected from the car during the crash.

"It (the car) flew one foot or six inches in the air and didn't touch down for 100 feet down the road," police Agent Dan Ryan said.

A passenger, Gunn graduate Geoffrey Bueno, remains in critical condition at Stanford Hospital with head injuries. He underwent surgery Sunday morning, but doctors were considering a second surgery to relieve brain swelling Monday evening, according to Gunn Principal Noreen Likens and Dean of Students Tom Jacoubowsky.

Bueno married his childhood sweetheart, Christina, three months ago in Redwood City. The two have a 4-year-old child named Eric.

Although no definite conclusion has been reached, Ryan said the accident may have been alcohol related. He added it could take anywhere from several days to a couple of weeks to get Jenkins' blood alcohol level.

Ryan said police are still investigating whether parent chaperones were present at the birthday party. If drinking was involved in Jenkins' death, it would be the third high-profile incident connected to alcohol in recent months. One teen was severely beaten at a party in October while another drove into a tree on New Year's Eve after attending a party at the house of a Gunn employee.

"Teen drinking has been a constant for the 22 years that I've worked in this town," Ryan said. "It's something we deal with every week."

Jenkins and Bueno were attending a 21st birthday party for Adrian Saguid, a childhood friend of Bueno who played football with both at Gunn.

Saguid said the event spun out of control and he was forced to tell people who weren't invited to leave. Although he would not confirm whether alcohol was available at the party, Saguid said he and some close friends were planning to ride with designated drivers to a house in Los Altos.

"That's where they (Buenos and Jenkins) were suppose to stay," Saguid said. "I don't know what made them go out."

The accident reportedly occurred around 4 a.m. Sunday. The next day, skid marks were still visible on the road and bricks from the wall littered the parking lot.

A makeshift memorial had been erected at the site of the collision. Red and black balloons decorated with Jenkins' Gunn football jersey number, 39, and his middle name, Marlo -- by which he is known -- bobbled in the breeze; stuffed animals and bouquets of roses adorned the remaining shrubbery.

Lianne Vandenbosch, Jenkins' girlfriend, approached the memorial in shock Monday afternoon. Two months pregnant with his child, she could not believe Jenkins was gone.

"It's terrible," she said. "He was one of a kind"

"Words can't express how we feel," Amelia Soto, 18, said as she adjusted flowers at the memorial.

Trevillion said the family is planning memorial services for Jenkins. The wake will be held at Jones Mortuary at East Palo Alto and the funeral service will be at Grace Temple, also in East Palo Alto. The exact times and dates have yet to be determined.

In the meantime, Trevillion tried to remain positive.

"In my heart, I know everything will be alright," she said. "This baby (he was expecting) is special. Something good will come of it."

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