SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — A 14-year-old Springfield boy critically hurt in a crash last weekend died from his injuries.
Carlos Perez died Friday morning.
He was one of six people in a Dodge Caravan involved in a crash last Saturday.
They were on their way to a boxing match when their minivan slammed into the back of a semi truck, on an I-5 on ramp, outside Portland.
Investigators say it was foggy at the time, but the main cause of the crash remains undetermined.
We talked to the driver of the minivan and another passenger who were both Carlos Perez’ trainers.
They say he was a standout athlete who set an example for other boxers and they still can’t believe the rising star’s career was cut short.
“You are a role model, a son, a fighter, a brother, a teammate and an inspiration to us all. You are my team captain,” said Jacob Williams, Carlos’ trainer.
Williams began working with Carlos at Mendez Boxing Gym in July and immediately knew he was working with someone special.
“The first thing I noticed was how quiet he was, just what a humble quiet kid he was,” said Williams.
But he had some fire in him.
“He could do 500 pushups in a day, and it was nothing to him. He was always up for the challenge. He was such a good kid I think he’d mess up on purpose just to be in better shape,” said Williams.
“Everything that he learned he learned quickly. And he pretty much perfected everything he tried,” said Carlos’ other coach Heron Mendez.
Mendez who was driving the minivan that crashed is in shock that the young athlete won’t see another fight.
“It’s sad that he didn’t get to, excuse me, that he didn’t get to go you know because we worked so hard,” said Mendez.
But Carlos’ life ended Friday morning after he suffered major brain damage from the crash Saturday.
“When we were getting on I had looked to my left to merge and I was speeding up at that time because we were getting on to the on ramp. And after that I don’t really remember anything that happened,” said Mendez.
All six people in the car were hurt.
“It was just one of those things. We pulled over to go to the bathroom, got back on the freeway and that was it. We were about half way to the fight,” said Mendez.
Carlos was a fighter who not only won boxing matches, but hearts as well.
“I’ve only known you since july, but you have restored my faith in people and boxing. You are my hero and I look up to you,” said Williams.
Carlos won silver for his age and weight bracket at nationals last year.
He would have competed in Kansas City at nationals next week.
February 10th a fundraiser is being held all day for his family at Papa’s Pizza in Springfield.
An account has been set up through Pacific Cascade Credit Union if you’d like to donate to the family as well, just ask for the account under Misty Davis.