Friends, relatives mourn loss of young family


Benjermin Navarro, Jasmyn Linares and their unborn son, Quinton, were killed in an April 29 crash near Strathmore

By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN

STRATHMORE – Family and friends gathered in Porterville yesterday to remember a young family whose lives were cut short in a tragic car crash last month.

Funeral services for Benjermin (Beejay) Navarro, 21, of Strathmore, Jasmyn Rose Linares, 22, of Exeter and their unborn son, Quinton Navarro, were held on May 15 at Holy Cross Church, 1765 N Newcomb St. in Porterville. Beejay and Jasmyn were later laid to rest in the Exeter District Cemetery. Condolences to the family may be made at or by calling Porterville Funeral & Cremation Center at 559-784-6485.

Among those in attendance was 22-year-old Carlos Saldivar, a close friend of Beejay’s since the two attended Strathmore Middle School and Strathmore High School together. Carlos and Beejay played soccer for their school teams from middle school through their senior year on varsity. He said Beejay was a great friend, a good role model and a loving husband and father. 

“It was hard to get mad at Beejay for anything, and even if you were mad you couldn’t stay mad at him,” Carlos said. “He didn’t have an enemy in the world. Everywhere he went he would light up the room.” 

Carlos, along with his wife of three years Raquel, organized two car washes to help the Navarro family pay for funeral expenses for both Beejay and his wife Jasmyn. Carlos said they started a group chat on Facebook of four friends that quickly grew to 120 people offering to volunteer their time to organize and work at the car washes, held May 2 and May 6 at Charlie’s Night Club in Porterville and at Strathmore Middle School, respectively. Between the two, Beejay’s friends were able to raise around $10,000 to help pay for flowers, headstones and burial fees for Beejay, Jasmyn and Quinton. 

“We had a DJ, news coverage and lots of people there,” Carlos said. “We didn’t want their family to go through an financial pain after the pain they have already gone through. We know he would have done the same for any of us, that’s who he was.”

Beejay was born at Sierra View District Hospital in Porterville to Leonarda and Enrique Navarro on May 9, 1996. He attended Fresno City College before taking a job as a truck driver for Navarro Trucking Company for the last year. With a second child on the way, Beejay was looking for a new job that would allow him to be home more with his family. Leonarda said he was driving with his family to a job interview at an insurance agency when their car was hit head-on at about 3:10 p.m. on April 29 near Strathmore. 

Beejay’s 2003 Toyota was traveling westbound on Avenue 196 when he attempted to avoid a 1996 that was swerving in and out of oncoming traffic which eventually hit the head-on east of Road 216. Beejay’s car flipped several times before both cars came to rest on the south shoulder of Avenue 196.

The impact killed Beejay and Jasmyn, who was 6-7 months pregnant at the time of her death with their second son Quinton. Jasmyn was born June 27, 1995 in Porterville to Luciano Linares and Brandy Linares. She graduated from Exeter High School, where she excelled in all subjects. She attended Fresno State University for several years before attending San Joaquin Valley College where she was close to completing the nursing program. Her obituary read, “R.I.P. Beautiful Jasmyn, we will always remember your kind heart, your smile and your wonderful laugh. We love you always and forever.”

The impact also killed the driver of the Lincoln, 24-year-old Arnold Zuniga Jr. of Strathmore. Alcohol may have been a factor in Zuniga’s erratic driving but the Porterville CHP is continuing their investigation.

“He was my hardest working son and a good father,” she said. “At 21 years old, he was renting a house, was starting a career and providing for his family.”

The lone survivor of the crash was their first son, 1-year-old Maddox Navarro, who was transported to Kaweah Delta Medical Center and then later onto Valley Children’s Hospital. After three days at Valley Children’s Hospital, Leonarda said Maddox was released to Jasmyn’s parents.

“Make sure you buckle your babies in,” Leonarda said. “The CHP said the only reason the baby survived is because he was buckled in so well.”

In addition to his son and parents, Beejay is also survived by brothers, Henry, Marcos, Lee and Levi Navarro, his grandmother Carmen Bejarano and many aunts, uncles, cousins and loving friends.

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