Visalia resident Hector Bueno is thankful he made home movies and took many photos of his 8-year-old son, Jordan Bueno, over the years.
“Jordan was an entertainer,” he said to the Enterprise on Tuesday. “He liked to make jokes and make everybody laugh. He loved to swim. He would always play with his sister. He liked swimming and he would help out everybody.”
Jordan was killed in a single car crash Sunday, when he, his two sisters and mother were traveling north on Highway 165 just south of the Salt Slough Bridge, police said.
Authorities said Jordan wasn’t wearing a seat belt when the car veered off the roadway and overturned.
Jordan’s 15-year-old half sister and his mother, Visalia resident Vanessa Bueno, were treated for minor injuries. His 1-year-old sister was uninjured.
Vanessa Bueno was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI and manslaughter charges after taking a breathalyzer test and telling authorities she thought she was driving on Interstate 99, police said.
California Highway Patrol Officer Dean Emehiser said there was no update Tuesday on the events leading up to the crash or the results of blood-alcohol testing of Vanessa Bueno.
She was being held Tuesday at the Merced County jail in lieu of $400,000 bond.
Hector Bueno said he has been separated from Vanessa Bueno for a year. He said, however, he has continued to live nearby and to be a big part of their lives, even purchasing the vehicle his wife was driving. He said the details of the accident were still vague.
But screenshots of Vanessa Bueno’s social media postings, which since have been deleted, may show where she and the kids were before she started driving early Sunday morning, Bueno said.
Hector Bueno’s family has organized funeral arrangements for Jordan.
Jordan’s funeral viewing will be at Salser & Dillard Chapel at 127 E. Caldwell Ave. in Visalia from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. July 7, followed by a rosary.
Mass will be the next day starting at 10 a.m. at Saint Rita’s Church on 954 S. O St. in Tulare. Burial will follow the church service at Visalia Cemetery on 1300 W. Goshen Ave.
Hector Bueno’s brother on Monday set up a GoFundMe account for Jordan. As of Tuesday afternoon, the fundraiser exceeded its $7,500 goal to more than $10,000 raised. The fundraising page can be viewed at gofundme.com/2bkzvkc.
Bueno said he appreciated the outpouring of support. All money received through the online fundraising page will go toward Jordan’s funeral expenses, he said.
Laurie Ponce, who said she is Jordan’s grandmother, also started a GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/2bjbdr8w. That page has received $655 in donations in 21 hours as of Tuesday afternoon.
Ponce and other people identifying themselves as Vanessa Bueno’s family did not return requests for comment Tuesday.
Jordan attended second grade at Cottonwood Creek Elementary School in Visalia and planned to enter third grade at Mountain View Elementary, joining friends from the apartment complex where the family lived.
“(Jordan) was student of the month several times,” Hector Bueno said. “He liked dressing up as superheroes for Halloween and he thought he was a superhero himself.”
Hector Bueno expressed his relief that Jordan’s sisters survived the crash. He said the 1-year-old girl is in his care, while his teenage stepdaughter is with her grandfather in Fresno.
After he received word of the accident, Hector Bueno said he went to Memorial Hospital Los Banos to see his estranged wife.
“I’m not mad at her,” Hector Bueno said. “But I hope she doesn’t get any money, or anything. (Losing her son) is the worst punishment she is ever going to have. I think the law will handle it accordingly.”