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Uncle recalls Clearwater crash victim's love of music, family

CLEARWATER — Jancarlos A. Schaffer had an all-consuming passion for music.

He liked groups as wide-ranging as the Beatles, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and local indie bands. That appetite for sound led him to start his own music promotion company.

He was headed to an event to promote one of his bands with a friend Saturday afternoon when their vehicle was involved in an eight-vehicle pileup on U.S. 19.

Schaffer, 22, of Odessa and Richard Kelly of Tampa, whose age was not available, died in the crash. It occurred when a 2006 Chevy Avalanche sped south and collided with seven other vehicles stopped at a red light near Nursery Road.

Clearwater police have not yet found the driver of the Avalanche, who jumped out of the car after the accident and ran away, spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts said.

"We're desperate for answers," said Bert Schaffer, Jancarlos Schaffer's uncle. "If anyone can come forth and just shed some light into this pit of questions, we're going to greatly appreciate it."

Bert Schaffer described his nephew as a joyful and loving young man, the kind of guy who would be the first person to kiss and hug every relative in a room at a family gathering. Jancarlos had pet names for each member of his family, and in turn, everyone called him "J.C."

"He wasn't afraid of putting his entire heart out in the open when he thought he could bring joy to other people," his uncle said.

He also was an avid reader, and by any account, his taste in books was just as eclectic as his music preferences: His favorite books listed on his Facebook page are J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye and Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal.

He lived with his mother, Gema, his stepfather, Abel Bohorquez, and his two sisters, Natalie and Sophia, in Odessa. He is also survived by his father, Roy Sui.

Bert Schaffer said he knew Jancarlos and Rich Kelly were good friends, but he had only met Kelly briefly a couple of times. His impressions from his brief encounters with Kelly were that "he seemed like a good kid," he said.

Kelly's family could not be reached.

While Clearwater police are still trying to find the driver of the Avalanche, the passenger in that vehicle, Daniel Barga, has been upgraded from critical to good condition at Bayfront Medical Center.

Barga, whose age was not available, was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Watts declined to release any more information about the case or whether Barga was helping detectives find the driver, saying that authorities still are investigating.

Uncle recalls Clearwater crash victim's love of music, family 06/22/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 11:15am]
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