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Funeral Set For 16-Year-Old Killed In Crash

By Mahsa Saeidi, Reporter
Published On: Aug 30 2012 03:32:25 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 22 2012 08:57:10 AM CDT
DUPLIN COUNTY -

Family members says Francisco "Chico" Zuncin will be buried Wednesday afternoon at the Galaxy Ranch in Duplin County.  Chico will be laid to rest in a small cemetery near the soccer field he visited daily. 

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Francisco Zuncin's young life revolved around soccer, friends and family. The Zuncin Family speaks about their loss, three days after Francisco - known as "Chico" - is killed in a crash.

"He was trying to give us hugs, always," said sister-in-law Maria Flores.

Family members say 16-year-old Chico loved to tell jokes and considered everyone a friend.

Flores, who was like a second mom to Chico, was numb when she discovered he was killed less than half a mile from his home.

Family members say on most days, they knew exactly where to find Chico.

"That morning I was calling him, looking for him, and he wasn't there," said Flores.

Rene Zuncin, Chico's dad, says the boys were en-route to Wilmington to help a friend move.  Troopers say the four teens didn't get far.

Chico's brother, Carlos Mendez, was one of the first on scene after the crash.   

"I was calling his name, and I was like wake up Chico, Chico wake up," said Mendez.

Mendez tried to help his brother.

"He had his eyes a little bit open, I could see his eyes, but he wouldn't respond back," said Mendez.

Troopers say Chico was killed on the scene of the accident.

Since Chico's death, the community has come together to assist the Zuncin family.

"I'm thankful for everybody that help me, I appreciate that a lot," said Rene.

Chico was the youngest of seven children. 

Flores says Chico loved playing soccer at the Galaxy Ranch in Duplin County.

On Wednesday, Chico will be buried in a small cemetery near the soccer field at the Galaxy Ranch.  Flores says Chico's soccer friends will never be far.  

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The East Duplin High School soccer team raised more than $8,500 to cover the funeral expenses of a teammate that was killed in a crash on Friday.

Friends say Francisco Zuncin's family will use the donations to cover his funeral arrangements, and the rest will go to help cover the medical expenses of the other three teens in the wreck. 

Assistant Coach Matthew Carter says the fundraising efforts will continue next week with the assistance of local churches. 

Francisco Zuncin will be be buried at the Pine View Cemetery on Wednesday.

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16 year old Francisco Zuncin had a bright future ahead of him. Known as Chico, he was preparing for his junior year at East Duplin High School where he was a popular soccer player.

As his teammates host a fundraiser to help his family with funeral arrangements, his untimely death is still a shock to many like Benjamin Weston.
“It don't seem like he’s gone i know he's still here with us,” said Weston.

According to troopers, Zuncin was riding shot gun with 20 year old Edwin Alvarez and two other young passengers. Alvarez pulled out in front of a pickup truck at the intersection on Outlaw Bridge Road and Hwy 111.

Jairo Herrera, who called Zuncin his brother, says Chico was very close with his mother. After hearing the news, Herrera says he promised her that he would never stop visiting with her.

“I just know I’m going to miss him a lot, and miss playing with him, and talking to I’m and stuff he was a really good friend,” he said.

Alvarez, a 2010 graduate of East Duplin High, is in critical condition and currently relies on a breathing machine. The other teens: 14 year old Richard Castiana has been released from the hospital. 15 year old Marlon Guttierez is still in the hospital recovering from serious injuries.

Coach Joey Jones described Zuncin as a great player and overall person. Jones says he hopes others will learn from Alvarez’s mistake. “With school starting up, we’re a week from having kids all back in school and stuff. So things like this could happen, they just need to be careful as possible,” said Jones.

A fundraiser is being held at East Duplin High School on Saturday from 5 to 8 pm. To help with donations contact Coach Joey Jones at 910-330-2474

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As a family mourns the death of their son, a community comes together to raise money for his funeral.

Troopers say Francisco Zuncin, 16, died in a two-car crash on Friday.

It happened shortly after 9 a.m. Friday morning at the intersection of Outlaw Bridge Road and Highway 111 in Duplin County.

Troopers say Zuncin, and three friends, were traveling west on Outlaw Bridge Road.  That's when their car turned in front of a truck that was traveling south on Highway 111. 

According to the Highway Patrol, the truck crashed into the car. 

Friends say Zuncin was a member of the East Duplin High School soccer team, and that he was the youngest of seven children.

The Assistant Coach at East Duplin High School says there will be a fundraiser tomorrow to raise funds for Zuncin's funeral arrangements.  The fundraiser will take place between 6p.m. to 8p.m. at East Duplin High School.