Two men killed in NW Side crash identified; Sisters of passenger says they are ‘heartbroken’

Family of Mando Lerma speaks after crash that killed brother and son

SAN ANTONIO – The Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office has released the names of two men who died a high-speed crash on the Northwest Side.

The victims were identified as Justin Tello, 19, and Armando Lerma, 25.

San Antonio police said the crash occurred around 2:20 a.m. on Dec. 29, when the driver of a Jaguar XF sedan was speeding eastbound at Braun Road near Loop 1604.

The driver lost control of the vehicle, went into the opposite lanes and into a grass shoulder. The sedan then struck a brush pile and a tree. Tello and Lerma were pronounced dead at the scene.

Lerma’s sisters spoke to KSAT-12 on Tuesday. They said Lerma was the passenger in the vehicle.

“My heart just dropped. I never thought this would happen,” said Deya Lerma. “I was heartbroken. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. It was really sad. I didn’t know what to think at first.”

Deya Lerma and Helana Carter said her family has not come to grips with the loss of their brother.

“I’ve been grieving, but for my mom we’re trying to stay strong,” said Helana Carter. “It hasn’t hit me, I think until after this is over.”

“He was just such a good person, the sweetest person ever,” Lerma said. “He loved everybody around him so much, he could light up a room in two seconds.”

Deya and Helana said their brother was quiet, mostly shy and very intelligent. He had just celebrated his birthday on Dec. 17 and the family spent Christmas together days before the deadly crash.

“He was always Santa Claus on Christmas, so he passed out the presents. Just to get those last two celebrations with him, it was like a blessing because we didn’t know that would be our last,” said Carter. “Looking back, we thank God we got those last few moments with him.”

The family has been overwhelmed by support and messages they have received for their brother since news spread of his death.

“We just want people to know what kind of person he truly was and just want us to share his life, to live every day to the fullest,” Lerma said.

“It gives our family comfort knowing how loved he was and we want to thank everyone for that,” said Carter.

Lerma’s family and friends have created a roadside memorial at the site of the crash to honor their brother and son who will be laid to rest this week in Seguin.

“They’re reaching out because that’s how much of a good person he was. There wasn’t anybody he didn’t get along with,” said Carter.

“We know Mando’s smiling and it’s very happy for all the people that came together to celebrate him,” said Lerma. It doesn’t come as a surprise because we love him and we know what type of person he was. But for him, he’s probably shocked that all of these people are showing as much love as they are.”

About the Authors:

RJ Marquez is co-host of KSAT News Now and reports for Good Morning San Antonio. He's been at KSAT since 2010 and covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms, including his Spurs newsletter. RJ has reported stories for KSAT Explains.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.