Trimble Tech 'hit hard' by 2 teens' deaths

FORT WORTH -- On most days after school, Trimble Tech High School freshman Jeanette Lopez called her mother to say she was on her way home on the school bus.

The 15-year-old never called Friday afternoon.

"Her mother knew something was wrong," Trimble Tech Principal Joe Dugan said Sunday.

Lopez was killed Friday afternoon in a traffic crash on Mitchell Boulevard, just blocks from her home.

She was riding home from school with Ivan Torres, 17, a classmate who died Saturday from injuries he suffered in the crash.

Another passenger, Berenice Lerma, 15, was listed in critical condition at a Fort Worth hospital Sunday. Lerma is also a freshman at the school.

"We've been hit hard with this," Dugan said Sunday. "Not to focus on him, but this type of an accident is a teenage problem all over the country. They just believe they are invincible."

Dugan said two dozen grief counselors will be at the school this morning to help students and faculty members.

He said he also hopes to get officials to present a program in a few weeks to the 1,787 students at the school about the dangers of racing and speeding.

The principal estimated that about 10 to 15 percent of students drive to the school in central Fort Worth.

Preliminary police reports from the crash indicated that Torres appeared to be racing with another vehicle in the southbound lanes of Mitchell near Glen Garden Drive South.

His truck veered into the northbound lanes and collided head-on with a sports utility vehicle.

It was not known whether the students were wearing seat belts.

The SUV driver, an adult passenger and two children suffered minor injuries in the wreck.

A makeshift memorial for the teens was set up Sunday near the accident site. A wreath with a white teddy bear and unlit candles were nearby.

A balloon for Lerma offered "get well soon" wishes.

The wrecked vehicles were removed Friday, but numerous pieces of black plastic and slivers of glass still lay scattered Sunday afternoon.

Students and faculty members at Trimble Tech have had more than their share of tragedy in the last three years.

In the 2010-11 school year, an assistant coach died and two other Trimble Tech students were killed in separate car crashes. Bulldogs assistant basketball coach Anthony Wilson died of a heart attack in March.

On Dec. 3, 2010, Eric Trevino, 16, a Tech junior, was killed in a crash on Eighth Avenue. A few days later, Andres Macias, 16, died in a wreck on East Loop 820.