GoFundMe for family of man killed in crash surpasses donation goal 

Loved ones gather to mourn the victim of Thursday night's crash on Valencia Boulevard Friday afternoon. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
Loved ones gather to mourn the victim of Thursday night's crash on Valencia Boulevard Friday afternoon. Habeba Mostafa/ The Signal
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Matthew Topete, 21, was killed in a fiery crash near College of the Canyons last week 

Bianca Rodriguez said she and her family were devastated when they learned that 21-year-old Matthew Topete, a Santa Clarita Valley resident, was the person who was killed last week in a fiery crash on Valencia Boulevard near College of the Canyons. 

The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office released the name of the decedent on Tuesday. Topete’s cause of death is listed as “blunt force injuries.”

Rodriguez, Topete’s aunt, told The Signal in a phone interview that he was a big part of the family and had just started plans to get into a roofing business with a friend before his life was tragically cut short. 

Matthew Topete was killed in a fiery crash earlier this month at the age of 21. Courtesy photo.
Matthew Topete was killed in a fiery crash earlier this month at the age of 21. Courtesy photo.

“He’s been a key part of our family for forever,” Rodriguez said. “It was something that none of us were prepared to face and deal with. It was a huge shock. Everyone’s heart is missing a piece.” 

According to SCV Sheriff’s Station officials, Topete was driving a white, four-door sedan westbound along Valencia Boulevard toward Interstate 5 at about 9:30 p.m. when he crashed into a tree. The car then burst into flames. 

Witnesses stated that no other vehicles were involved in the crash, according to Sgt. Mark Perkins with the SCV Sheriff’s Station Traffic Unit. 

Deputy Orena Gonzalez with the SCV Sheriff’s Station confirmed on Wednesday that the incident is still under investigation. 

In the wake of Topete’s death, the family set up a GoFundMe with a goal of $40,000 in donations. As of Wednesday afternoon, the GoFundMe has raised more than $42,000 and has seen more than 300 people donate. 

Matthew Topete loved playing soccer while growing up. Courtesy photo.
Matthew Topete loved playing soccer growing up. Courtesy photo.
Matthew Topete loved playing soccer growing up. Courtesy photo.

Rodriguez said the donations will go toward a funeral service. She said the number of donations that came in, all in less than a week, wasn’t surprising as she knew how much Topete meant to his friends and family. 

“I always knew how special he was,” Rodriguez said, “and so physically seeing it from the support of the community … there’s people who donate like $5 because that’s all they have, but they wanted (to do it).” 

Topete spent time at both Golden Valley High School and West Ranch High School, according to Rodriguez, and always loved playing soccer. She added that, even from a young age, Topete always had a smile on his face. 

“Everywhere he went, he was a good time, and he was easy to talk to and easy to get along (with),” Rodriguez said. “He always had a big smile on his face. You just couldn’t help but love him.” 

Matthew Topete with his two younger sisters. Courtesy photo.
Matthew Topete with his two younger sisters. Courtesy photo.

A big part of Topete’s life was his family, especially his two younger sisters, Rodriguez said. She added that he was planning on being a family man and was looking into getting into the roofing business. 

“He has two younger sisters that he adored,” Rodriguez said. “I know he definitely wanted to be a family man, definitely wanted kids. He had just started a roofing job that he really liked with a buddy of his. I think he was thinking about going into business with him. He definitely was a hustler and was wanting to just better himself in every way.” 

A memorial service is scheduled to be held at Eternal Valley Cemetery on Jan. 31. 

To donate to the GoFundMe, visit tinyurl.com/m7upmn63. 

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