Community rallies around hospitalized wrong-way crash victims

Posted: Updated:
Brandon Gauna and Kyle Ruiz were both critically hurt in a wrong-way crash in the I-10. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Brandon Gauna and Kyle Ruiz were both critically hurt in a wrong-way crash in the I-10. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Brandon Gauna is still in the hospital. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Brandon Gauna is still in the hospital. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Kyle Ruiz is still in the hospital. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Kyle Ruiz is still in the hospital. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The wrong-way crash killed two other people in December. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The wrong-way crash killed two other people in December. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Family friends of two co-workers critically injured in a wrong-way crash last month say it could be months or even years before there’s a full recovery.

Brandon Gauna, 21, and Kyle Ruiz, 24, work as termite technicians with Gilbert’s Magic Pest Control. Last month, the two finished a call in Maricopa and were on their way to another one in Ahwatukee when they collided with a wrong-way driver.

“It’s the last call anyone would want,” said Derek Freeman, a co-worker.

Co-workers say Gauna is nicknamed “Taco” for his love of the food. Ruiz is a passionate Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Both are the office pranksters.

According to the Department of Public Safety, an SUV was going the wrong way on an I-10 west transition ramp when it struck Gauna and Ruiz’s work truck. Two people in the SUV died.

[READ MORE: Wrong-way driver in deadly crash on I-10 ramp to Loop 202 identified]

“You just wish it would end. You wish people would take control and start to make good judgment,” said Freeman.

Cindy Castillo, who calls herself the “office mom,” says both victims are alert but remain in critical condition.

“It’s going to be a long recovery, long recovery, anything from a couple months to a couple years,” said Castillo.

Since the crash, there has been an outpouring of support from customers and others in the community.

“A lot of phone calls, baskets, people delivering food. Genuine kind gestures you didn’t think you would see,” said Castillo.

According to family and friends, the greatest need is financial support.

“Helping the family is a priority so they can be by their bedside constantly 24-7 and not have to worry about them. We’re hoping to alleviate some of that pressure off of them as much as possible,” said Castillo.

[SLIDESHOW: From the scene]

Once both Gauna and Ruiz recover, family and friends hope to advocate for safety changes to prevent future wrong-way drivers.

“Whether it's signage or laws, we’ll see what we can help put in place, so this doesn’t keep happening to other families because it’s devastating,” said Castillo.

A pancake breakfast fundraiser takes place Sunday, Jan. 29 from 8 to 11 a.m. at the New Mexican Grill located at 3107 S. Lindsay Rd. in Gilbert.

A fund is also set up to help the family at https://www.gofundme.com/MagicPestControlFamilies-com.

[Google Map: 3107 S. Lindsay Rd.]

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


  • Social Connect

  • Contact

    AZ Family