Friends, families of Buffalo Grove High School students killed in Wheeling crash gather for funeral

Wheeling crash killed students Ricky Barcenas, Jesus Rodriguez, Richard De Ita and Kevin Hernandez,

ByMichelle Gallardo, Cate Cauguiran, and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Families gather for funerals of Buffalo Grove students killed in crash
Family and friends gathered Monday for the first funeral for one of four teenagers killed in a horrific crash in Wheeling last week, and two other visitations.

DES PLAINES, Ill. (WLS) -- Family and friends gathered Monday for the first funeral one of four teenagers killed in a horrific crash in Wheeling last week.

Ricky Barcenas, 17, played soccer at Buffalo Grove High School. Several hundred people packed his funeral at The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Police said the driver, 18-year-old Richard De Ita, ran a red light and slammed into two other vehicles then hit a light pole. He, along with 17-year-old Keven Hernandez and 17-year-old Jesus Rodriguez were killed. Another student in the vehicle was critically injured.

SEE MORE: Buffalo Grove High School students return to class for 1st time since 4 classmates killed in crash

The Barcenas family wearing T-shirts with Ricky's pictures to honor him are still very much in shock.

"I was more in shock and in denial," cousin Christopher Mejia said. "My parents said Ricky died...It's just really sad, if he was here, it's smile, his smile is contagious he could light up a room, anywhere he was at. The thought not having him here no more that really hurts."

Richard De Ita and Kevin Hernandez's visitations are also being held Monday, with their funerals and burials set for Tuesday. The funeral service for Jesus Rodriguez will be Saturday at St. Joseph the Worker in Wheeling.

The four teens died as they were returning home from dinner after spending a rare night out knowing they did not have school the next day due to a small fire.

"He texted his mom literally like minutes before that. 'I'm already on my way home.' He sent his location to his mom," said Magaly Teran, Hernandez's aunt.

She said her nephew worked hard and studied hard, and had big dreams.

"He wanted to be a fashion designer. His dream was to go to Columbia College in Chicago. He already had an interview or kind of like a tour set up," Teran said.

"Richy was a sweet boy, he was a really sweet boy, hugging, laughing," said Guadalupe Cordero, who was attending De Ita's visitation down the road from Barcenas' funeral. "He really loved to help everyone."

School officials at Buffalo Grove High School said a tribute of some kind will be made to the students killed that were set to graduate this Wednesday.