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Burbank crash victim: 'She wanted to be the best'

Friends gather to mourn, remember victim of car crash.

October 08, 2013|By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com
  • Malena Santana, center, mother to 19-year-old Burbank resident Sugey Cuevas, along with other relatives, arrive for funeral services at Pierce Brothers Vahalla in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. Cuevas was one of five people who died in a fiery crash in Burbank on September 28, 2013.
Malena Santana, center, mother to 19-year-old Burbank… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

Hundreds gathered Tuesday to mourn the passing of Sugey Cuevas, who family and friends remembered as a colorful, free spirit who had a contagious laugh, and loved dancing and Flamin' Hot Cheetos.

The 19-year-old John Burroughs High School graduate died in a car crash in Burbank on Sept. 28 that claimed the lives of four other young people and left one injured

PHOTOS: Hundreds gather for Sugey Cuevas funeral

A group of Cuevas' friends attended her funeral clad in bright outfits, their arms covered in “kandi,” or colorful beaded bracelets popular at electronic music festivals, or raves, of which Cuevas was a fan.

“If we were all wearing black, she'd be striking us with lighting,” her best friend Heather Haynes, who was dressed in pink and white, said with a laugh. “She was always the life of the party.”

On Twitter recently, Cuevas posted a message that read, “Twerk at my funeral,” her family said, which is why they asked friends to come dressed in festival attire. Her Twitter account has since been deleted.

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“We're living on her spirit,” said Alyssa Garcia, 19, who was on the Burroughs Dance Team with Cuevas. Garcia wore an orange dress and bright pink “fluffies,” or furry boot covers, which are popular at raves.

Cuevas was a cosmetology student at Marinello Schools of Beauty, where school director Maria Urban described her as a conscientious and hard worker.

“She was always taking clients, pleasing them, asking the front desk, “Give me more clients, I want to keep myself busy,'” Urban said during a phone interview. “She wanted to be the best.”

Sugey Cuevas was set to graduate in five months, according to her sister, Claudia Cuevas.

Claudia Cuevas' favorite memory with her sister was belting out the lyrics to “My Girl” while watching the movie, “The Temptations.”

“She always said, ‘If I ever die, I'm going to die happy because I do everything I want,'” Claudia Cuevas recalled, through tears, adding that her sister loved taking road trips. “I know she's in a better place.”

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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