REDWOOD CITY -- The tragedy that struck the Reynaga-Reyes family last week in Foster City is something most parents pray could never happen to their children.
Three sons in a family of five children were in a violent car crash on Highway 92, and as a result the Redwood City family is making funeral arrangements for two of the boys: Erik Reynaga, 12, and Aldo Reynaga, 16.
In addition, the family remains at the bedside of a third son, Jesus Reynaga-Reyes, 18, at Stanford Hospital. He will survive, but he may never walk again.
In the wake of the Jan. 27 crash, supporters have set up accounts to accept donations to help defray funeral and medical costs.
"Please donate to help this hardworking family to get back up on their feet and to regain their optimism and trust in a warm, caring, nurturing world, despite the tragic and difficult path they journey," said an online appeal for help.
The loss is only just sinking in for the family, which is struggling to make sense of the deaths.
"They were very good sons,'' their father, Moises Reynaga, a gardener, said in Spanish. He and his wife, Marina, are originally from Mexico and came to the United States in the late 1990s looking for a better life for themselves and their children, three of whom were born here.
The California Highway Patrol is investigating what caused a 1999 Honda carrying the brothers and two others to hit a guardrail and flip near the Foster City Boulevard exit at about 9:40 p.m. The 21-year-old driver, Juan Pablo Zaragoza Hernandez of San Mateo, was also killed in the crash. The front-seat passenger, the only person who CHP officers are sure was wearing a seat belt, walked away from the crash with minor injuries.
Erik and Aldo Reynaga were years apart but were close friends, their father said. That bond led to them going to a party together at their uncle's house in San Mateo the night of the crash. The brothers left their uncle's home in the Honda, but it's not clear where they were going when the car veered off the road. Their father said he didn't know the driver.
Erik Reynaga, a seventh-grader at Selby Lane Elementary in Atherton, and Aldo Reynaga, a junior at Gateway Center School in San Mateo, were good students, their father said.
"Aldo wanted to be a lawyer. He was very smart. A very smart boy," the father said. "Erik, they loved Erik at his school.''
Jesus Reynaga-Reyes has regained his ability to talk, and doctors told the family that with therapy he might not need a wheelchair the rest of his life, but they just aren't sure. While the family supports him and tries to cope with the tragedy, they must also care for a daughter, 8, and son, 6.
"My daughter is very sad now,'' the father said.
The CHP said there were no immediate signs alcohol was a factor in the crash but has not completely ruled it out. The investigation is expected to take at least several weeks.
The Reynaga-Reyeses are the third family in three months to lose multiple family members in a crash on Peninsula freeways.
In November, two San Bruno sisters were killed on Highway 101 near Palo Alto while driving home after a night of Black Friday shopping. Less than a month later, on Dec. 14, a sister, brother and mother from Santa Clara were killed on the side of Interstate 280. Their car was stuck on the side on the shoulder with a flat tire when it was hit by an SUV.
Donations can be made to the Reynaga-Reyes Memorial Fund, Wells Fargo account No. 2886346168, in person, by email or wire transfer. People can also donate at http://fundly.com/reynaga-reyes-memorial-fund. Fundly takes a 7.9 percent fee from donations.
Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at Twitter.com/melvinreport.