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Fund for New Tampa crash family hits $50K in 24 hours, friends share memories of slain man

A GoFundMe page created for the family of Pedro Aguerreberry amassed more than $50,000 in its first 24 hours. It also drew a collection of memories from those who knew the man as a friend, neighbor and coworker. He died Sunday when a driver crashed into Aguerreberry and his sons. [GoFundMe]
A GoFundMe page created for the family of Pedro Aguerreberry amassed more than $50,000 in its first 24 hours. It also drew a collection of memories from those who knew the man as a friend, neighbor and coworker. He died Sunday when a driver crashed into Aguerreberry and his sons. [GoFundMe]
Published Jun. 26, 2018

Not long after a driver mowed down a New Tampa father and injured his two sons Sunday, those who knew the family, and even some who did not, set out to comfort a grieving widow.

It happened on the crowd-funding website GoFundMe, where the entry, "For the Family of Pedro Aguerreberry," has now drawn hundreds of donors.

In its first 24 hours, the effort drew more than $50,000.

The written words posted online by those who gave, sometimes $5 or $10 at a time, offer a glimpse of Aguerreberry, who died Sunday when a man with a history of mental illness drove into the 42-year-old and his boys on a bicycle outing.

Many said they would miss Aguerreberry's laughter.

"Thank you, Pedro, so very much for being someone we could count on, for your warm smile, and for those delicious arepas," wrote the Boulos family.

"Every time we spoke, we always started or ended on a laugh!" wrote Prashant Pednekar.

"Pedrito we will never forget your crazy happy and extroverted soul," wrote Nicolas Bonilla. "We all became better persons by having you in our lives."

It was a senseless tragedy, they said. Heartbreaking.

Some shared Bible verses and asked God to bless the Aguerreberry family. Money could not return their friend Pedro, they acknowledged, but perhaps in a small way it could lift a worry.

In English and Spanish, they offered empathy and promised meals, willing to lend a hand in memory of the man who so often had done so himself.

"Always helped me whenever I needed it," wrote neighbor Deanna Stephenson.

"We are here for you, Meghan, all of us here in New Tampa," wrote Veronica Hartman, addressing Aguerreberry's widow. "You are in our thoughts and prayers."

Some were strangers.

"I do not know you," one wrote, in an unsigned message, "but I mourn for you and your loss."

Others knew him well enough to appreciate what had been lost.

"A good heart has stopped beating," wrote donor Ian Coffie. "A good soul ascended to heaven."

The fund-raising campaign can be found at GoFundMe.com by searching for "Aguerreberry."

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