Fatal accident victim remembered

Friends and relatives Mark Maese, II, look on Tuesday as a

Hundreds of people attended the funeral services for Martin

Mustang Mark

Maese, II, who died in a vehicle accident last week, and his
family is thankful for the outpouring of support they have received
from the community.
Hundreds of people attended the funeral services for Martin “Mustang Mark” Maese, II, who died in a vehicle accident last week, and his family is thankful for the outpouring of support they have received from the community.

Shortly after Maese’s death Aug. 17, his parents and friends began taking up donations for funeral expenses. Within days, they raised not only enough to pay for those costs – but enough to pay off outstanding credit card bills the 21-year-old Live Oak High School graduate left behind, his mother Susan Maese said.

“The neighbors came by (our house), and gave me flowers and checks. Some of them didn’t even know my son,” Susan Maese said.

Mark’s friends took up collections at their respective work places. Educational Data Systems, Mark’s employer at the time of his death, donated $3,000 to the family.

People Mark’s age who grew up with him, played sports with him and even tried to compete with him in building up their cars “pulled together” to ensure Mark received a proper and fitting farewell, his mother said. Karma Boutique, a clothing store at Vineyard Town Center, sold custom-made tee-shirts in Mark’s memory to help pay for funeral costs.

“It’s unbelievable, the people that supported us and carried us through,” Susan Maese said. “I’m so proud of Morgan Hill and living here, and all that they’ve done, to feel the love that people have for my son and for us.”

Mark died about 10:30 a.m. Aug. 17, when his silver 1994 Ford Mustang collided with a 1968 Chevrolet flatbed produce truck at the intersection of East Middle and Columbet avenues in southeast Morgan Hill. He was pronounced dead at the scene and his passenger and friend, Luis Molanprez, was sent to the hospital with minor injuries.

The driver of the produce truck, Chester Togliatti, 44, also suffered minor injuries.

Witnesses said the Mustang was traveling at least 80 mph on Columbet Avenue and ran a stop sign when it hit the truck in the middle of the intersection, according to police. The car rolled several times before coming to rest, almost unrecognizable, about 40 feet off the side of Columbet Avenue.

Mark’s funeral was Monday night at Johnson Funeral Home, and his mother said about 300 people attended, with friends and relatives pouring out the doors during the service.

On Tuesday morning, friends and relatives gathered again at the funeral home and proceeded to Mark’s burial in San Jose. The procession included scores of Mustangs and other high-performance cars.

Mark was known as a Mustang enthusiast, and he was a member of the “Infamouz” Mustang club, which includes about 15 Mustang drivers from South County and Hollister.

On their way back from Mark’s burial, the line of cars visited the crash site, where a makeshift memorial of a cross, flowers, a rosary and other items have been placed in his memory. About 100 people gathered at the site in the early afternoon Tuesday on the side of East Middle Avenue.

His friends could hardly have chosen a more poignant way to pay their respects, as about a dozen of them lined up behind the steering wheels of their vehicles and took turns doing “burnouts” in the intersection where Mark died, spinning their wheels on the pavement as long as they could while stopped, turning up clouds of smoke. Susan Maese, who is a school bus driver, said the sound of the burnouts gave her “chills,” and she was proud of his friends’ display of respect.

“My son would be so excited that they did this for him.”

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