Teen who fell off truck dies
Mass of intention is being held at 6 p.m. nightly at the Mangilao church for Joward Pereira. Viewing will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, followed by Mass and burial at Guam Memorial Park.
Joward Pereira, 18, of Dededo, spent about three days at Guam Memorial Hospital before succumbing to his injuries.
Pereira was hurt when he fell out of a pickup with a converted flatbed that was being driven on Kamute Loop in Astumbo Gardens, according to police.
The death was a freak accident, said his father, John Pereira.
"He was a great kid. He was actually my backbone," John Pereira said. "We love to do the same sports. We are drag racers. He did everything for me, and now I am having a hard time doing everything by myself. ... He was ready to graduate, and then all (of a) sudden it happened."
John Pereira said yesterday that his son was injured while riding in a truck that was heading to a nearby friend's house. The truck didn't need to go far, so Joward Pereira and three other friends were piled in the back.
The truck was going only about 5 mph at the time of the accident, the mourning father said, but as it rounded a curve, Joward Pereira lost his balance.
According to a police press release, Joward Pereira placed his foot on one of the truck's tires, which pulled him out of the truck bed, his head hitting the pavement. His father said the young man jumped out of the truck bed, but then lost his footing as he landed on the pavement.
Guam Highway Patrol is investigating this accident and the case remains open. Although the accident occurred April 11, police did not release any information on the case until yesterday.
John Pereira said his son drifted in and out of consciousness during his stay in the hospital, and only some family members were there to speak with him before he died. John Pereira said he was unable to say goodbye to his dying son.
"I know he is gone and stuff. I just don't believe it yet," the father said. "He was like my shadow."
Joward Pereira became Guam's third traffic fatality of 2012.
LawLocal law restricts how people can ride in a pickup bed, but it is unclear if Joward Pereira was violating this law at the time of the accident.
The law allows pickup bed riders:
•If the truck cab is full;
•If the bed is surrounded in walls and a tailgate at least 14 inches in height; and
•If riders are not leaning against the tailgate.
The law also forbids riders under the age of 12 or more than five riders in one truck.