BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Around this time last year, 13-year-old Nicolas Peterson was killed on the corner of Coffee and Hageman after the motorcycle he was riding on with his stepfather, was involved in a crash with an SUV.
“We don’t want any other families to suffer the way that we’ve been suffering, and it’s been a year and it hurts just as much as it did that day,” said Brandee Coffia, Nicolas’ aunt.
Brandee Coffia and her husband sit at the corner of Hageman and Coffee Road every month with signs that say, “Hold the Red for Nic”.
“We want people to simply stop running red lights we don’t want another family going through what we are going through.”
Coffia recounts that on January 10th, 2021, 13-year-old Nic Peterson and his stepfather Jonathan were on their way home when a driver ran the light due to it malfunctioning, killing Nic and severely injuring Jonathan.
“We want to remind people the cost, of running red lights because there is a cost, you might get through this one or the next one but eventually you won’t.”
When the sun went down, family and friends gathered for Nic to remember his life: “I don’t think any of us expected a year ago expecting the day of those events to happen.”
“Most of you know my grandson Nic was quite the character, whether it was taking your money at the clubhouse.”
“Nic was strong of his faith, Nic was proud of his faith, Nic walked tall in his faith, and he got to have that one last day at church, eh got to get that one last sermon, that one last hug from the pastor.”
Candles were lit at the site of the crash in his honor Monday night.
“Nic was love and light and laughter, not having had that for the last year and seeing so many people drive so carelessly and know the next family is going to go through what we’re going through that’s devastating.”
Coffia continues to hope for two things, one, that Nic’s legacy can save someone else and two, that justice is served: “We want prevention, we want people to be held accountable, we want to see more red-light infraction enforcement, we want to see red light cameras in intersections where this is a habitual thing.”
“Justice for us is the driver taking responsibility, full and complete responsibility.”
Since the day of the accident one year ago, Coffia said a camera was installed above the traffic signals on Hageman Road but said she continues to see drivers running red lights.
Cristina Moreno-Gonzalez was charged in the deadly crash that killed Peterson. According to court documents, Gonzalez allegedly waited for some time before making a left turn while the arrow signal was still red causing the crash.
The driver Cristina Moreno-Gonzalez will have her pre-preliminary hearing Tuesday morning.