Father of five was giving friend a ride before his death, had a ‘big heart’

Up until the second his life was taken away, Shawn Milton was always helping others, said his cousin, Berk Shelton.

“Shawn had a big heart, always striving to do better for himself, do better for his kids and his family,” Shelton said. “He’d take the shirt off his back and give it to you if he needed to.”

The 40-year-old father of five (with another baby on the way) was giving a friend a ride on Saturday night when a suspected DUI driver blew through the stop light at Kings Canyon Road and Maple Avenue in southeast Fresno, police say.

Gustavo Blanco, 21, was driving between 75 and 88 mph before he smashed into Milton’s Toyota Tercel, police say, killing Milton and sending his friend to the hospital, where he remains in critical but stable condition.

Blanco is suspected of vehicular manslaughter and of driving under the influence causing death, both felonies, police said. He was booked into the Fresno County Jail on Sunday after being treated for a broken ankle, according to Lt. Tim Tietjen.

A father, a son, a brother

Shelton, who lives with Milton’s mother in Chowchilla, said his cousin leaves behind two sons and three daughters. His girlfriend, Amanda, is due to give birth to another baby in August. The sex of the baby was to be a surprise for the couple, Shelton said.

Milton’s 17-year-old son was in Southern California getting ready for college, but is traveling back to be with his family. Milton’s other children are 9, 8, 6 and 3 years old.

Shawn Milton was killed after an alleged drunk driver slammed into his car while he was giving a friend a ride in southeast Fresno on Saturday night. courtesy Berk Shelton

He is also survived by his parents, his two sisters and two half-brothers.

Milton’s sisters and mother had recently moved back to the area, and were looking forward to spending time together, Shelton said.

Shelton has set up a GoFundMe account to pay for Milton’s funeral expenses.

Milton’s death hit the family hard, Shelton said. “There’s some anger, asking, ‘Why? How could this happen?’”

“Everyone’s got their own feelings about it,” Shelton said about the crash.

Shelton said Milton’s mother put it to him this way: “Not only did Shawn lose his life, but this young person (Blanco) lost his life, as well. After you kill someone in a DUI, you go to prison for a very long time.”

Ashleigh Panoo: 559-441-6010, @AshleighPanoo
Related stories from Merced Sun-Star