VACAVILLE — More than 300 friends and family gathered Tuesday night in a field next to Nut Tree Road to remember Gilberto Guzman, the guy who loved to live loud, and Christie Brinsley, the girl who always was kind to everybody.
“He was the guy who everyone wanted and needed as a best friend and bro,” Jesse Perez said of Guzman, using the hood of a four-wheel drive pickup truck as a podium to talk to a crowd of people, many of whom were holding candles.
Jessica Wallace, one of those in the crowd, described 16-year-old Christie as someone “who was an amazing girl and I never saw being mean to anyone.”
Both Vacaville teens were killed Saturday after the pickup truck that 19-year-old Guzman was driving veered off Pleasants Valley Road at about 7:30 p.m. and flipped several times into a field.
Brinsley died at the hospital after the crash. Guzman died at the scene. Three other teens, Anthony Markham, 16, Amber Shryack, 17, and Samantha King, 18, all of Vacaville, were transported to local hospitals for treatment.
The informal vigil was initially planned for 7 p.m. in the field where Guzman and friends in the Mud in Vacaville four-wheeler club gathered to drive.
Solano County sheriff’s deputies tried to shut it down when large numbers of people started showing up on the grounds based on liability concerns. The land is county property. Several people made their displeasure known, saying the deputies should not interfere with the memorial.
“I get it, trust me,” Deputy Michael Waller said to one of the people. “I don’t want to do this.”
The Sheriff’s Office relented and, reinforced by the Vacaville Police Department, watched from a distance as two groups gathered, a larger group to eulogize Guzman and Brinsley as well as pray that Markham, Shryack and King recover from their injuries.
Drew Stone described Guzman as “a super-fun, low-key guy who got along with everybody.”
“Gilbert was family to everyone here,” said Perez, getting loud cheers from the crowd. “He always showed up with a big grin.”
Both Guzman’s and Brinsley’s family members thanked all those present for remembering them. Guzman’s younger brother was pulled up to the hood of the truck, shown to all those present and told by his older brother’s friends that they were all his family now.
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.