The friends of two teenage car crash victims sat in the grass in front of a roadside memorial on Monday evening, their faces illuminated by the two dozen candles among the flowers, balloons and signs.
Friends say 18-year-old Anderson Palma and 19-year-old Brianna Moreno were the two people killed in the crash on Riverside, near Montopolis Drive, before 6 p.m. Saturday.
They crashed into a pole, then their car caught fire, Austin police said. Both of them died at the scene.
On Saturday, witness Isaac Boston said he was at a nearby service station when he heard skidding, saw flames and then heard an explosion. “It blew up,” he said. “The ground shook.”
Palma and Moreno were dating each other and were both recent graduates of Eastside Memorial High School, friends said.
Alfredo Samarripa, 19, said he grew up across the hall from Palma in Grove Place apartments, just down the street from where they died.
Samarripa was on his way home from work when he got stuck in the traffic that the crash caused, he said. He didn’t realize it was his friend who had died until hours later.
He got a call around 2 a.m., learned what had happened and spent the next three hours with Palma’s family across the hall, he said.
“He was a real good person,” Samarripa said of Palma. “He always had a smile on his face, and he was really outgoing. … He was always down for anything.”
Friends of Moreno also gathered at the scene Monday.
“She was loving, caring, outgoing. … She always liked being around her friends and family,” her friend Jonathan Regalado, 18, said of Moreno.