Gilroy teen was ‘on track’ before fatal wreck

Police blotter

SAN JOSE—The life of a 15-year-old Gilroy boy was cut short after he and two other young people were killed in what police believe was a street race in San Jose on Oct. 13.
Anthony Ramos, of Gilroy, was pronounced dead at the scene in the area of Santa Clara and 22nd streets alongside 15-year-old Jayleen Ciriaco of San Jose, the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed. An 18-year-old San Jose man, Oscar Avila Toledo, later died in an area hospital.
All three were riding in a gold Honda Accord that was involved in a street race with a dark colored Acura on Santa Clara Street, San Jose Police Department Sgt. Enrique Garcia said in an emailed statement to the Dispatch. Police did not identify the driver, but said the Honda was an unreported stolen vehicle out of San Jose.
Ramos attended Blue Ridge High School in Morgan Hill, operated by the Santa Clara County Office of Education from a county detention facility for juveniles, the William F. James Boys Ranch, according to SCCOE spokesman Ken Blackstone. Teens are typically sent there after placement through the juvenile justice system.
District officials told the Dispatch on Tuesday that Ramos was “on the verge of being released” from Blue Ridge before the wreck and preparing to head home to Gilroy in a matter of weeks. Teachers, staff and the community are reeling from the tragedy, said Yvette Irving, SCCOE’s director of alternative education.
“He hadn’t decided on a solid career path but he was focused on positive next steps—returning home, going back to school and possibly getting a job,” Irving said. “He had the investment of a lot of teachers, paraprofessionals as well as his family—who cared deeply for him—and they are experiencing a loss. That cannot be overlooked.”
One of Ramos’ teachers recalled the 15-year-old as being “very intense” about wanting to get things right in the classroom.
“If the teacher said, ‘You did a good job,’ he’d say, ‘No, it’s not right yet’ and want to continue. He felt confident in his work,” Irving said. “That’s an indication of how far he came.”
Ramos overcame obstacles throughout his life in terms of “schooling and some behaviors that took him off track,” she added, without addressing specifics.
Earlier this week, the San Jose Mercury News reported that Ramos was on a weekend furlough from the William F. James Boys Ranch and failed to return to the facility on time. Irving did not confirm or deny that Tuesday afternoon to the Dispatch, deferring to the county’s probation department.
However, she said that Ramos had not missed any school. Irving also addressed media reports emphasizing past troubles in the lives of the victims and stressed that Ramos “got those behaviors on track.”
“This was a time he was focused on the future and planning for when he was released. He was looking forward to going back to school,” she said.
But it wasn’t to be.
SJPD officers arrived on the scene at 10:53 p.m. after receiving a report of a traffic collision and found all three occupants of the damaged Honda suffering from “serious injuries,” Garcia said. Two other victims—who police did not identify—were taken to a hospital and treated for their injuries.
Investigators determined that both vehicles were racing westbound on Santa Clara Street when at some point the Honda lost traction and spun out, according to Garcia. The vehicle then hit a pole before striking a tree near the curb, he said.
Before police arrived, however, the Acura fled the scene. Garcia said Wednesday afternoon the Acura’s driver has not been identified and confirmed no arrests were made.
Police continue to investigate the incident and are asking anyone with information to call the SJPD Traffic Investigation Unit at (408) 277-4654. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at (408) 947-7867. Anyone who provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect may be eligible for a cash reward via the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers, police said.
Grief counselors were made available at SCCOE school sites affected by the wreck and counselors remain available to those in need, according to Blackstone.