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Calif. Man, 23, Dies When Lumber Goes Through Windshield of Box Truck in 'Freak Accident': Reports

Family members are speaking out for the first time after the death of their loved one, who many remember as a great friend

<p>GoFundMe</p> Manny Camacho

GoFundMe

Manny Camacho
  • Manny Camacho died on Jan. 8 after he was struck by a piece of wood from a lumber truck while driving a box truck on the 118 Freeway

  • Family members are describing Camacho's death to a local news station as a "freak accident"

  • More than $15,000 has been raised via GoFundMe in the wake of Camacho's sudden death

Family members are speaking out after their loved one was killed in what they describe as a “freak accident” involving a lumber truck earlier this month.

The 23-year-old man was driving a box truck on the 118 Freeway in Chatsworth on the morning of Jan. 8 when his vehicle collided with a lumber truck in front of him, California Highway Patrol said, according to The Los Angeles Times and CW affiliate KTLA.

A piece of wood from the lumber truck hit the box truck driver, who died from the impact, FOX affiliate KTTV reported.

M'Liss Silva said her son Manny Camacho died of “blunt force trauma to his torso,” per KTTV. As of Monday, the cause of the accident reportedly remained under investigation by the California Highway Patrol, which PEOPLE has contacted for additional information.

Camacho’s uncle Marc Martinez considered his nephew a safe driver.

“We understand completely that it was a freak accident, but we think it's an accident that should have been avoidable considering how safe he was,” Martinez told KTTV.

Related: Fla. Woman, 25, Dies After Rear-Ending Logging Truck, Causing Logs to Crash Through Window

Family said Camacho recently graduated from Azusa Pacific University, according to KTTV.

He was also a league champion in football, wrestling and track in high school, where he earned a GPA higher than 4.0.

<p>GoFundMe</p> Manny Camacho

GoFundMe

Manny Camacho

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"The hardest thing is to get up every day and as soon as I open my eyes it's not a dream,” Silva told the station. “It is my new reality.”

As of publication Wednesday afternoon, more than $15,000 has been raised via GoFundMe to help Camacho’s family in the wake of his sudden death.

Related: 9-Year-Old Boy Dies After Crawling Underneath School Bus to Retrieve Football

In an update to the campaign shared on Sunday, Silva thanked everyone who has shown their support over the last several days.

“As the days go by I’m learning just how great of a friend he was to so many,” she said of her first-born son.

Authorities said the box truck’s speed may have been a factor in the Jan. 8 crash, according to the Times. The driver of the lumber truck was hospitalized with moderate injuries.

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