The family of a fatal car crash victim says the judge’s decision to release the driver from jail felt like a slap in the face and now it’s driving them to speak out, they say, to make sure justice is served.
Yolanda Coriano will never forget the phone call telling her that her 20-year-old son Julian Tinoco had died in car crash.
"He just kept saying Yolanda, Yolanda, Julian didn’t make it," she said. "He didn’t make it."
"I mean, it’s the worst phone call to get and always a mother’s worst fear when you have a child driving," she said.
The crash happened on Dec. 10 at 109th and Grand in Winfield, Indiana.
Tinoco was less than a mile from his home.
"I want him to be remembered as loving boy, that had so much inspiration to others," Coriano said.
Police charged 30-year-old Richard Westerhoff with causing the crash. They say he was under the influence of both drugs and alcohol at the time.
Jessica Sanchez was Tinoco's girlfriend. She said people shouldn't have to go through this.
"People shouldn’t have to do what we’re doing," she said. "... it disgusts me."
That’s why Tinoco’s loved ones have spent the months since the crash fighting for change.
On Tuesday—they attended a community meeting at Crown Point High School where the Indiana Department of Transportation addressed concerns about area roads.
"I think that love he offered me during relationship it keeps me going," Sanchez said. "And makes me want to be here listening to this meeting."
Tinoco was just one semester away from his college graduation at the time of his death. This past weekend, Ivy Tech presented his family with an honorary degree.
"He’s somebody who was a go-getter," Tinoco's brother Jose said. "He didn’t want to sit around and wait for something to be handed to him. He wanted to work hard for it."