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The father of one of the two Immokalee teenagers killed in a car wreck this week says he still has questions about the crash, and is struggling with the way his son is being portrayed in the media.
Early Monday, Michael Jon Perez, 17, crashed a 2004 Hyundai into the back of a 2010 Dodge, the Florida Highway Patrol reported. Perez’s girlfriend Amanda Alvarado, 17, was a passenger in the Dodge driven by 22-year-old Beatriz Martinez.
Perez and Alvarado were killed in the crash on Westclox Street in Immokalee.
Martinez, the only survivor, told the Daily News that Perez was angry after he and Alvarado broke up and he was trying to stop her car.
Julian Perez, 36, Michael’s father, said he wants his son to be remembered as a good person.
“My son is not a murderer,” he said.
Julian Perez said he found a bottle of Mr. Boston Vodka in the front seat of the Hyundai, which his son was driving the morning of the crash. He wants to know who bought the alcohol for his son.
He believes alcohol played a major role in his son’s death. An alcohol test by the Florida Highway Patrol is pending.
Julian Perez also questioned why it took authorities so long to locate his son after the 5:10 a.m. crash, and why his son wasn’t airlifted to a hospital. Both Martinez and Alvarado were transported to the hospital.
It took medics seven minutes to arrive at the scene from the time they were dispatched at 5:19 a.m., Collier EMS Deputy Chief Dan Bowman said.
Bowman said there was no difficulty in finding Perez. He said Perez wasn’t transported to the hospital because he was already dead.
It took Immokalee Fire Department three minutes to arrive to the scene, according an Immokalee fire report. Collier County sheriff’s deputies arrived at 5:20 a.m.— six minutes after they were called, Collier County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Natalie Felber said.
If Martinez and Alvarado were being threatened by Michael Perez, Julian Perez wonders why they continued to drive and why they did not call the police.
Julian Perez, a father of four, wants people to know that his son was a good guy who wouldn’t want to hurt anyone.
“I want him to be remembered as a boy with passion, a boy that loved his girlfriend,” Perez said.
Julian Perez described his son — an Immokalee High School senior set to graduate on Friday — as a musician and a mechanic who was passionate about learning. Michael Perez was an Immokalee High School band member who played the trumpet. He also played the accordion since he was 14.
“I can only cry so much, grieve so much. My son isn’t going to come back,” Perez said. “But, at the same time, he is in a better place. He would want us to be happy.”
A visitation for Alvarado will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday at Bethel Assembly of God in Immokalee. A funeral for Alvarado will be held at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 7, at the church, followed by a burial at Lake Trafford Memorial Gardens.
A visitation for Perez will be held at 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday — which would have been his 18th birthday — at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Immokalee. Perez will also be buried at Lake Trafford Memorial Gardens.
Family members are talking about possibly burying Michael Perez and Alvarado side by side, Julian Perez said.
Connect with Tracy X. Miguel at www.naplesnews.com/staff/tracy_x_miguel/