A 2020 Orestimba High graduate was killed in a weekend traffic accident in Turlock.
Authorities identified the deceased as 19-year-old William Shawn Pizarro.
According to a press release, Turlock police officers were dispatched to the 3500 block of W. Monte Vista Avenue at 12:20 a.m. Sunday, March 28, on a report of an injury accident involving a solo vehicle that had collided with a fire hydrant and irrigation box.
Police said three vehicle occupants were located. Turlock police reported that life-saving measures were performed on Pizarro, who was identified in a press release as the driver, but he later succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital.
Police said two additional passengers, identified only as a 20-year-old male with life-threatening injuries and an 18-year-old male with non-life threatening injuries, were both transported to local hospitals.
Speed was a factor in the collision, police stated. Drugs and alcohol do not appear to have been a factor.
Pizarro, who went by Shawn, was an aviation machinist mate in the U.S. Navy, according to his Facebook profile.
Staff members at Orestimba remembered Pizarro as outgoing and determined.
“He was very reliable and always there to help,” reflected teacher Skyler Loo, who had Pizarro in graphic design courses. “I could always count on him as one of my go-to kids to help me. He had that positive energy.”
Pizarro enjoyed serving as the DJ at school dances and other musical events, recalled Loo, who is also a DJ and worked with Pizarro at various school activities. The two would practice together, Loo said, and if he was not available for an event Pizarro would DJ it alone or with other students.
Charlie Kothenbeutel coached Pizarro in basketball and track.
Pizarro’s work ethic and determination stood out, Kothenbeutel told Mattos Newspapers.
“He was a relentless worker,” Kothenbeutel reflected. “He would be on time, and work his hardest. He would push other guys to do their best. There was no ‘off’ switch with him, which is something you admire.”
Kothenbeutel said he would often see standing off to the side visiting with any number of fellow students. “He didn’t shy away from anybody,” Kothenbeutel reflected. “He was a tremendous kid, with tremendous character.”
Principal Justin Pruett remembered Pizarro as “always smiling and always positive.”
He recalled Pizarro as wanting to take what he had learned and share it with others.....as he did while a DJ.
The loss of a popular student less than a year out of high school hits the campus community hard, Pruett added.
“He had connections with the current senior class, and we are a small community,” Pruett commented.
A gofundme account, Shawn’s funeral, has been established to help with expenses.