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"Thumbs up, pinkies down!" was a trademark call-out and gesture to his fans in performances by Raul Alianza (a.k.a. DJ Rowdy A). He died in a crash in Gorman on Sunday, Nov. 27. [facebook photo]
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Alexander Vega Sonora died the next day from injuries suffered in the crash. "His smile could light up the darkest cave," his brother Irving Sonora said when he sent this photo. The family participated in an organ donation program to help others after their tragic loss. (Irving Sonora photo)
By Gary Meyer, with P. Hedlund
Friends and fans of ‘DJ Rowdy A’ (Raul Alianza) and club photographer Alex Vega (Alexander Vega Sonora) have flocked to The Mountain Enterprise website—over a half million page views in just 72 hours—to see breaking news reports about a fatal crash on Interstate 5 on Sunday, Nov 27.
The tragic one-car accident on the Grapevine at Gorman took the life of the popular performer in the early morning hours. Alianza and photographer Sonora were sleeping in the back seat of a 2005 Chevy Tahoe, without fastened seatbelts. Their group was returning home to Southern California from a performance in Merced, according to interviews with Sonora’s mother and brother.
Omar Reyes, 20 of Fontana was driving them, heading southbound in the fast lane. California Highway Patrol Officer Kelley Walker said Reyes allowed the SUV to drift to the left while approaching the Gorman bridge at about 6:37 a.m., slipping onto the dirt median. He swerved the vehicle to the right, crossing all southbound lanes and going over the right shoulder where the Tahoe collided with the bridge barrier wall.
That collision shattered the rear and left-rear passenger windows of the vehicle, causing unbelted Alianza—DJ Rowdy A—and Sonora to be ejected from the SUV. The momentum launched their bodies over the bridge railing and down onto Gorman School Road, below.
Without stopping, the Tahoe rebounded back across the southbound lanes, rolling onto its left side and finally coming to rest, blocking the southbound fast lane.
Alianza, 21 of Ontario was pronounced dead at the scene by Los Angeles County fire personnel. Sonora, 21 of Santa Ana was transported by air to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital with major injuries.
A third passenger, Antonio Madrigal, 22 of Alhambra, sustained moderate injuries. Reyes, the driver, and his front seat passenger Ignacio Rodriguez, 20 of Ontario sustained minor injuries. Both were wearing seatbelts.
Henry Mayo Memorial Hospital’s Laura Young told The Mountain Enterprise Sunday evening that passenger Sonora was “in critical condition.”
Messages began arriving at The Mountain Enterprise from friends of Sonora’s family saying he had died at the hospital while hospital personnel continued saying on Monday he was in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit.
Sonora’s mother and brother called The Mountain Enterprise to clear up the mystery. Irving Sonora explained that his brother had been pronounced dead on Monday at 11:20 a.m. and was kept on life support equipment so the family could donate his organs.
The hospital staff was unable to give the details due to privacy laws. Their classification of “critical condition” was technically correct.
Irving Sonora said the group had left Merced about 1 a.m. after working late the night before the accident.
Music mixes at DJ Rowdy A’s MySpace page have received over 1.6 million plays. On Monday night, about 150 people attended a candlelight vigil at San Bernardino’s Hudson Nightclub where Rowdy A performed and Alex ‘Vega’ Sonora had taken photos.
Alex Sonora’s brother sent the photo above with this note: “Here is one that I love. And I just want to say that he will always be remembered for his smile. Diamonds don’t shine in the dark but his smile would light up the darkest cave.”
This is part of the December 02, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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