Family, friends mourn after car crushes man to death in SLC

Posted at 10:06 PM, Mar 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-03 09:46:38-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Family and friends are grieving after a 49-year-old man was killed while working on a car Wednesday night.

Mario Perez was found pinned beneath a Volkswagen Passat near 1700 W Kimberly Circle shortly before 6 p.m.

Apparently, something happened to the jack and he was crushed by the car, police said.

Samantha Hernandez has known Perez since she was 10 years old. Her mom had been in a relationship with Perez for the past eleven years, and she was the one who found him crushed underneath the car Wednesday night.

Neighbor and friend, Noreda Garza, described the tragic scene.

“She was just screaming on the top of her lungs. She was realizing he was probably wasn’t going to wake up so she was saying 'Don’t leave me. You can’t do this to me.' She was just in shock,” Garza said.

The whole neighborhood came out to help.

“All of the children from the park ran over here and immediately neighbors started helping each other to pick up the car,” says Garza.

Perez was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Hernandez said her mom ended up in the hospital herself.

“She actually went into shock yesterday and she got admitted into the hospital because she couldn’t take the news,” Hernandez said.

Perez wasn’t even working on his own car. He was helping fix a car belonging to a friend who had recently become homeless.

“He ran into some burden and ended up homeless and he decided to help him fix the car,” Garza said.

“Mario is just that good of a person. He’s always doing favors, looking out for other people,” Hernandez said.

Helping others is what Perez was known for around the community, according to Dusty Richan, a neighbor.

“He was always helping. Anytime anyone needed help he would always try to be helping them,” Richan said.

Perez left behind a legacy of selflessness, while the people Perez left behind try to imagine a world without him in it.

“We really cared about him. We all did. He never hurt anyone. He was the nicest person ever,” Hernandez said.