CHILTON, Texas – Friends and family are mourning the death of Chilton High School senior Emilio Rueda.

The 17-year-old died Wednesday morning after the truck he was in crashed against a light pole.

Emilio was just days from graduating High School and completing a promise he made to his mother, of handing her his diploma.

“I lost my only brother. Me and him were pretty close. We got along like brothers, rough played a lot, but deep down inside we loved each other. It was me and him against the world,” said Emmanuel Rueda, Emilio’s older brother.

Emmanuel says he first saw the wreck on Facebook and had no idea it was his loved one.

“Thought it was just another accident. Never, never did I ever think it would be my little brother,” said Rueda.

Waco Police say Emilio was the passenger inside a GMC Sierra Pickup Truck. Around 7:30 a.m., the truck drifted off the roadway and hit a light pole. Emilio died at the scene.

“Hearing my mother cry the way she cried about losing her youngest, my little brother, really tore into my soul. We were in disbelief,” said Rueda.

Both brothers made a pact that they would complete high school and hand their diplomas to their mother.

“That’s what hurts me too. That he did it. But he wasn’t able to give it to her in her hands. We shook hands on it that we would,” said Rueda.

After graduation, Emilio wanted to become a barber and share his creative talents with the world.

“He was a happy soul. He knew how to, he had personas with everybody. If you were one way, he would adapt to your way to make you feel comfortable and welcome with him, and you could be in the worst mood, and he’d come around and make a joke about whatever you were mad about to make you laugh. Which was the most beautiful thing about him,” said Rueda.

In a statement, Chilton ISD says:

“It is with a tremendously heavy heart that we inform you of the tragic passing of Emilio Rueda, a class of 2020 graduating senior from Chilton High School.  We encourage the Chilton community to surround the family with thoughts of love and prayers of comfort during this time of bereavement.  Additionally, we ask that community members, parents, and teachers extend support to the graduating class of 2020 as they navigate this difficult time.

“On Thursday, May 14, 2020 we have invited a team of counselors and pastors to be on campus from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to assist our school community in dealing with this sudden and unexpected tragedy.  We will do all that we can to help our students, staff, and community through this experience.  Though our campus will be open for our students and staff on a come and go basis, we would like to encourage all attendees to wear a personal mask or one that will be provided by the Chilton ISD. 

“At this time, we do not have information about services or visitation arrangements for Emilio.  However, the Chilton ISD will receive donations in his memory and will make a contribution to the Rueda family.  Please continue to pray for the Rueda family, the Class of 2020, and the entire Chilton community during this difficult time.  If you need additional information, please contact Brandon Hubbard, Superintendent at 254-546-1227 or Jennifer Sharp, Secondary Principal at 254-546-1224.”

-Chilton ISD

“It’s really heartwarming to feel that love from the community and friends and family, even his friends praying for us. People that I haven’t met that was his friends came and actually showed their true love and respect for my little brother. It’s amazing,” said Rueda.

Services will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 16 at Chilton High School’s Gymnasium, located at 905 Durango Street. Due to COVID-19, there will be limited seating and restrictions. A burial will follow at Chilton Cemetery.

The family will receive visitors Friday from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Pecan Grove Funeral Home, located at 3124 Robinson Drive. This will be a come-and-go visitation, with social distancing required.

A family friend has created a GoFundMe page for the Rueda family. You can donate HERE.