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Promising Young Life Cut Short By Crash

July 21, 2005

By Chuck Carroll
San Jose Mercury News

The summer had been a good one for the tight-knit Salcido family.

Family members finished the home repairs left incomplete four years ago when Juan ``John'' Salcido Sr. died of cancer after 24 years as a San Jose police officer.

Practically the whole clan got together at Florida's Disney World to celebrate the 25th wedding anniversary of Juan's brother Jose Salcido, a lieutenant with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department. And John Salcido Jr., who finished law school at Santa Clara University in the spring, is cramming for the three-day bar exam next week.

Then came a call Sunday: 22-year-old Moses Salcido, John Salcido Sr.'s son, had been killed in a crash on an Arizona freeway. Also killed was Moses' step-grandmother, Erma Ocosta-Fernandez, 53, of Mexico.

Moses Salcido was driving Ocosta-Fernandez and his grandfather back to their home in Mexico when he lost control of the sport-utility vehicle going east on Interstate 10 in Arizona, near the New Mexico state line. The green Chevy SUV flipped several times.

The grandparents had been visiting San Jose to help finish work on the second-story addition John Salcido Sr. was unable to complete before he died.

Sunday's accident cut short a life that family members said appeared so promising.

Moses Salcido graduated in 2002 from St. Francis High School as student body president and was named Graduate of the Year. He was going into his senior year at Santa Clara University, where he was studying political science. As in high school, he loved being a student manager for the school's baseball and soccer teams.

He had just begun applying to Santa Clara Law School, where his big brother, John Salcido Jr., went for his law degree. He had mapped out his future: After law school, he would run for city council, then mayor, and keep running until he was governor, senator or even president.

``You couldn't laugh when he said that,'' John Salcido said. ``He had a way of touching people's lives.''

At one time, he volunteered in a New Orleans AIDS hospice. He seriously considered going into the priesthood, but decided he wanted to have a family, like his father.

His uncle Jose Salcido choked back tears as he recalled the gregarious young Moses and his big dreams.

Jose Salcido said he was going to try to help his nephew get an internship with Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose.

``He was kind of focused on making a big difference in the world,'' Jose Salcido said. ``He was a doer. `Never give up,' is what he used to say.''

John Salcido, who said he was his brother's best friend, said the family's strong religious faith will carry them through their grief.

``These things happen for a reason we'll never understand, I guess,'' he said. ``But he accomplished a lot more than many people do in a lot more years. His death kind of makes us see how precious life can be and how we should do as much as we can to love each other and be good friends and family.''

A rosary is scheduled for 7 p.m. today at Spangler's Mortuary, 399 S. San Antonio Road, Los Altos. A funeral Mass is set for 9:30 a.m. Friday at Queen of Apostles Church, 4911 Moorpark Ave., San Jose.