Family, friends remember Aggies killed in crash

March 3, 2013 10:00:00 PM PST
Texas A&M University honored two cadets from the Houston area Monday night who died while driving from one volunteer activity to another.

The university held a taps ceremony for the fallen Aggies -- 18-year-olds Amy Pacheco and Miguel Hernandez.

In their northwest Houston neighborhood Monday, Margaret and John Blackwell recalled happier times on a backdrop of sorrow.

"We had a yard full of kids," John Blackwell said.

Amy Pacheco grew up across the street and played with their granddaughter.

"That little child, she was such a sweet little thing," Margaret Blackwell said. "As sweet as she could be."

Early Sunday morning along Highway 290, she and Hernandez died in the fiery crash along with the wrong-way driver who hit them, 21-year-old Katie Thomas. Their fellow cadet, 18-year-old Francisco Campos, survived. He was at Memorial Hermann Hospital on Monday, still recovering.

The grief spread across two school districts Monday.

"It hit me pretty hard yesterday," said Bobby Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was Hernandez's band director for four years at Spring Branch ISD's Northbrook High School.

"He was well-mannered, polite," Gonzalez said. "We're glad that we knew him when he was here. We can hold onto that."

Pacheco and Campos -- both Chavez High School graduates -- were active in Houston ISD's Junior ROTC program.

"These kids were the best of the best," HISD JROTC Director Cornell Mcghee said. "They were role models."

All three were Texas A&M freshmen and members of the esteemed Corps of Cadets. They had come home to judge a high school JROTC competition.

"When I walked in, Amy's was the first face I saw," Mcghee said. "Her face lit up into a big smile. She was so excited about coming back and being a judge so she could share what she had learned at A&M."

In fact, A&M is prominently displayed on all three of their Facebook pages. Two of them were first in their families to go to college and they all had a lifetime ahead of them.

"The lives they were trying to live are worthy of emulation," Mcghee said.

The families have established links for donations:

In Memory of Amy Pacheco

In Memory of Miguel Hernandez
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