Cold tears rolled down the faces of about 75 family, friends and community members as they huddled together Monday night and set down candles in remembrance of Sydney Weakley, who died while driving for Uber on New Year’s night in northwest Fresno.
“It could’ve been me, especially a busy night like last night,” Uber driver and vigil organizer James Collins said.
Collins went around the crowd comforting and handing out tissues to those gathered at the Walgreens parking lot near Herndon and West avenues where Sunday night’s crash happened. He said he wanted to organize the vigil to give Weakley’s family his support.
“It’s not about the label, or job or company, it’s that we’re from a community,” Collins said.
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Those attending the vigil lit candles and placed them on the sidewalk near the intersection.
“It’s been a very mind-numbing experience,” Steven Weakley, Sydney’s father, said, adding that he heard the sirens from his home that night, but never thought anyone he knew would be hurt.
“I heard a knock on my screen door,” he said, “and then she (the coroner) came in and told us the news.”
Weakley said he saw many of Sydney’s friends at the gathering. “She had a lot of friends at Bullard,” he said.
Sydney Weakley graduated from Bullard High School in 2013. Weakley said his daughter only wanted to better herself and was very independent. He laughed as he recalled his daughter’s 18th birthday, and how she said she was moving out. Sydney went on to juggle three jobs. She was an employee for Uber, Payless and Ulta Beauty.
Fresno police said a sport utility vehicle traveling west on Herndon Avenue slammed into Weakley’s sedan as she turned onto Herndon from West Avenue. She died at the scene; no passengers were in the car with her.
Lt. Steve Card said there is no reason to believe alcohol was a factor. No other details were available Tuesday on the status of the crash investigation.