The Literary Department

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Much-loved Filipino man and son die in car crash

by Jason Truesdell
NW Asian Weekly
January 15, 1994

The Filipino community is trying to console itself after a tragic accident that killed two and injured another of Filipino descent.

Efren Caindec, 48, and his stepson Kristopher Valdez, 12, were killed last Saturday night in an accident in Bellevue involving an alleged drunken driver. Ofelia Caindec, Efren's wife, also suffered injuries in the accident.

Gregory Nordquist of the King County Police, the detective who handled the case, said the other driver had a blood alcohol level "well in excess of the legal limit." Court documents show that Benton had a BAC of .28. The legal limit in King County is .10.

The King County Prosecuting Attorney's office filed two counts of vehicular homicide, one count of hit and run on an attended vehicle, and one count of driving while license suspended or revoked, against Ronald D. Benton of Seattle on Wednesday, according to court documents. Benton's arraignment was scheduled for Friday, Jan. 14.

His bail has been set at $100,000.

Efren did landscaping work for a living and enjoyed bowling in his spare time.

His many friends are now trying to deal with the pain of losing him.

"We are very shocked and unhappy. He [was] a very strong young fellow who [was] very active in the community. We were not ready to find out that he is gone. He is a loss to the community," said Camilo de Ghuzman, president of the Filipino Community of Seattle, an organization of which Efren was a member.

"They were supposed to have an event with the bowling league the Sunday after he was killed. We missed him there," Ghuzman said.

Efren's brother, Edgar Caindec, said of his family, "So far we are suffering some. Everybody is sad." Ofelia Caindec was riding in the passenger seat when the collision occurred and was injured. She was treated at Overlake General Hospital and was discharged Wednesday.

She was riding in the passenger seat when the collision occurred.

Edgar received a call from Ofelia Caindec earlier this week. "The only complaint she told me is that she's feeling chest pain."

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